Student Paper Award

Student Paper Award

2022 RAS Student Paper Competition Announcement

RAS (Railway Applications Section), a subdivision of INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences), is sponsoring our student research paper contest on innovative analytics and fact-based decision making in railway applications with three cash prizes totaling US$1,750. 

First Prize: $1000
Second Prize: $ 500
Third Prize: $250


  1. The paper must be written by one or more BSc/MSc/PhD students enrolled in an academic institution at any time during the year ending on the submission deadline. For example, a student now employed who graduated earlier in the year is acceptable.
  2. One or more advisers may appear as co-authors of a paper, but the student(s) must be the "primary author" and the content must be at least 80% attributable to the student authors. Advisers of finalist papers will be contacted to verify this information.
  3. The paper must demonstrate a subject area of OR/MS that is representative of INFORMS subjects, and may apply to any railway system (freight rail, passenger rail (incl. urban/suburban heavy or light rail), etc.).
  4. The paper must represent original research (not literature reviews) and have not been previously published in a peer-reviewed journal, book, or published conference proceeding.
  5. If the paper is under review by any publishers, please let us know where and when it was submitted, and at what stage of the review process it is. Please consider that the paper is eligible if not published at the date of paper submission deadline.
  6. The paper is expected to follow a general structure and length suitable for a high-impact journal publication. The judges may reject papers that are excessively long or inappropriately formatted.
  7. The judges reserve the right to reject papers at an early stage in the competition due to irrelevant subject matter or fundamental errors in composition.
  8. Papers must be written in US or UK English, as deemed appropriate for scientific works.
  9. In the event of any disagreement over the enforcement of the rules, the decision of the judges is final.
  10. RAS student paper award recipients must present their paper at the 2022 INFORMS Annual Meeting (In the case of not being able to travel due to covid19, an online presentation could be allowed on an individual request. For the details and eligibility, please contact the competition chair)

How to enter:

Deadline for submission is July 15, 2022 July 20, 2022

Submit your application at:

Your submission should include full contact information, supervisor’s name and contact, affiliations, manuscript and cover letter describing its merits.

Please refer in the subject of your email to 2022 INFORMS RAS Student Paper.

Manuscript formatting: The manuscript length should not exceed 10,000 words including tables and figures (figures and tables would be counted as 250 word each). Therefore, the suggested paper length is less than 30 pages, including references. Additional relevant material can be submitted as an appendix file. The line spacing should be double-spaced. First page: paper title, authors’ name(s) and affiliation(s). Second page: paper title and abstract (max 300 words). Third page through the final page: paper title and the main text.

Important dates:

  • March 2, 2022 Competition announced
  • July 15, 2022 July 20, 2022 Paper submission deadline
  • September 15, 2022 Winners announced
  • October 16-19, 2022 Presentation at 2022 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN, USA.

More info

Andrea D’Ariano, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy  
Stefano Rieppi, Norfolk Southern Corporation, USA, 

RAS reserves the right to suspend the contest if no suitable papers are received.

Past Competition Results


First Place

Bianca Pascariu1, Andrea D'Ariano1, Marcello Sama1, Dario Pacciarelli1, Paola Pellegrini2, Joaquin Rodriguez2; 1Roma Tre University, Italy, 2Univ. Lille Nord de France, France.
"Effective Train Routing Selection for Real-time Traffic Management: Improved Model and ACO Parallel Computing"

Second Place

Jacob Trepat Borecka, Nikola Besinovic, Yousef M. Maknoon, Rob M. Goverde, Wan-Jui Lee; Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. "Solving the Train Unit Shunting Problem using Multi-Agent Deep Reinforcement Learning with Routing Optimization"

Third Place

Dian Wang1, Andrea D'Ariano2, Jun Zhao1, Qiyuan Peng1; 1Southwest Jiaotong University, China, 2Roma Tre University, Italy
"Integrated Rolling Stock Deadhead Routing and Timetabling in Urban Rail Transit Lines"


First Place

Pengli Mo, Beijing Jiaotong University.
"An Exact Method for Integrated Optimization of Subway Operation Strategy with Asymmetric Passenger Demands and Operating Costs"

Link to recording:

Second Place

Rowan Hoogervorst, Erasmus University Rotterdam. "Integrated Rolling Stock and Shunting Driver Rescheduling"

Link to presentation:

Link to recording:
Third Place

Nuannuan Leng, ETH Zürich. "The role of incomplete information to passengers in railway delays"

Link to presentation:

Link to recording:

 2019 First Place Christopher Szymula, Delft University of Technology, Technische Universität Dresden. "Passenger-Centered Vulnerability Assessment of Railway Networks" 
Second Place Yuxin He, City University of Hong Kong. "Short-term Forecasting of Origin-Destination Matrix in Rail System Via a Deep Learning Approach"
Third Place Yongxiang Zhang, Soutwest Jiaotong University. "Solving Cyclic Train Timetabling Problem Through Model Reformulation: Extended Time-Space Network Construct and Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers"

Gert-Jaap Polinder, Erasmus University Rotterdam. "Strategic Passenger Railway Timetabling"
 2018 First Place Fei Yan; Nikola Bešinović; Rob M.P. Goverde, “Multi-objective Periodic Railway Timetabling”, Technical University of Delft Presentation
Second Place Rolf N. van Lieshout; Paul C. Bouman; Dennis Huisman, “Determining and Evaluating Alternative Line Plans in (Near) Out-of-Control Situations”, Erasmus University Rotterdam Presentation
Third Place Manuel Fuentes; Luis Cadarso; Ángel Marín, “A Hybrid Model for Robust Crew Scheduling in Rapid Transit Networks”, Technical University of Madrid Presentation
2017 First Place Thomas Breugem, Erasmus University Rotterdam, An Optimization Framework for Fairness-oriented Crew Rostering
Second Place Sofie Van Thielen, KU Leuven, Benefits of a dynamic impact zone when dealing with train conflicts
Third Place Pan Shang, Tsinghua University, Equity-oriented skip-stopping schedule optimization in an oversaturated urban rail transit network
2016 First Place Joris Wagenaar, Erasmus University, "Rolling stock rescheduling in passenger railway transportation using dead-heading Trips and Adjusted Passenger Demand"
Second Place Fabrizio Cerreto, Technical University of Denmark, "A polynomial function of primary delays and cumulative delays on railway lines"
Third Place Chao Lu, Beijing Jiaotong University,"Balancing Performance of Timetable and Expected Schedule Robustness: An Improved Space-Time Path Searching Algorithm"
 2015 First Place Nikola Bešinović, from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, for the paper “A novel two-stage approach to robust periodic timetabling"
Second Place Joris C. Wagenarr, from Erasmus University, The Netherlands, for the paper “Solving the depot problem"
Third Place Shuguang Zhan, from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, for the paper “Real-time high speed train rescheduling in case of a partial segment blockage”
2014 First Place Tie Shi, from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, for the paper “A Mixed Integer Programming Model for Optimizing Multi-level Operations Process in Rail Yards”
Second Place Xiaojie Luan, from Beijing Jiaotong University, China, for the paper “A Balanced Train Dispatching Model toward Reducing Train Delays and Inequity of Competitors”
Third Place Joris Wagenaar, from Erasmus University, The Netherlands, for the paper “Maintenance in Railway Rolling Stock Rescheduling for Passenger Railways”
2013 First Place

Yutian Yang, from University of Texas for the paper "Balanced Train Crew Assignment in Double-ended District"

Second Place

Luis Cadarso, from Technical University of Madrid for the paper "Smooth and Controlled Recovery Planning of Disruptions in Rapid Transit Networks"

Third Place

Lucas P. Veelenturf, from Erasmus University Rotterdam for the paper "A macroscopic railway timetable rescheduling approach for handling large scale disruptions"

2012 First Place

Xiaoyan SI, from University of Texas for the paper "Real-time Crew Assignment in Double-ended Districts with Primary-Secondary Queues"

Second Place

Lucas P. Veelenturf, from Erasmus University Rotterdam for the paper "A recoverable robust solution approach for real-time railway crew rescheduling "

2012 StdPapAward_SECOND
Third Place

Sifeng Lin, from University of Texas for the paper "Optimization-based Decision Support System for Train Dispatching"

2012 StdPapAward_THIRD
2011 First Place

Yazhe Feng, from Virginia Tech for the paper "Time and Capacity Constrained Routing Problem in Railroad Planning"

Second Place

Conrado Borraz-Sánchez, from Northwestern University for the paper "Strategic Gang Scheduling for Railroad Maintenance"

Third Place

Fan Peng, from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the paper "Periodical Rail Inspection Scheduling in Railroad Networks"


Honorable Mention

Mor Kaspi,from Tel Aviv University, Israel for the paper "Service Oriented Line Planning and Timetabling for Passenger Trains"

2010 First Place Twan Dollevoet, from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands for the paper "Delay Management with Re-Routing of Passengers"
Second Place Lingyun Meng, from Beijing Jiaotong University for the paper "Robust Train Dispatching Model Under a Dynamic and Stochastic Environment: A Scenario-based Rolling Horizon Solution Approach"
Award Photos
First Place

Endong Zhu, from University of Montreal, Canada, for the paper, " Network Design for Freight Rail Transportation."

Second Place Ashish Kumar Nemani, Suat Bog, from University of Florida, USA, for the paper, "Exact and Heuristic Algorithms for the Curfew Planning Problem."

Honorable Mention

Rodrigo Acuna-Agost, from University of Avignon, France, for the paper, "SAPI: Statistical Analysis of Propagation of Incidents. A New Approach for Rescheduling."
Award Photos 
First Place

Lars Kjær Nielsen, from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for the paper, " A Decision Support Framework for Rolling Stock Rescheduling."

Second Place Daniel Potthoff, from Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for the paper, "An Algorithm for Railway Crew Rescheduling."

Honorable Mention

Muhammad Babar Khan, from Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, P.R. China, for the paper "Slack Time Allocation in Robust Double-Track Train Timetabling Applications."
Award Photos 
First Place Andrea D’Ariano, from Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg Delft, The Netherlands, for the paper, "A Tabu Search Algorithm for Rerouting Trains During Rail Operations."
Second Place Ashish Kumar Nemani, from University of Florida, for the paper, "Load Planning Problem at an Intermodal Railroad Terminal."
Award Photos 
First Place Gang Li , University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, for the paper, "Spatial Scheduling and Resource Selection Problem: Modeling, Algorithm, and Application in the Production Gang Scheduling for Railway Maintenance Operations."
Second Place Andrea D'Ariano, from Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg Delft, The Netherlands, for the paper, "Modeling Reordering and Local Rerouting Strategies to Solve Train Conflicts during Rail Operations."

Honorable Mention

Balachandran Vaidyanathan, from University of Florida, for the paper, "Developing Fueling and Servicing Friendly Locomotive Plans"

First Place

Pieter Vansteenwegen, from Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, for the paper, "Decreasing the Passenger Waiting times for IC Networks of belgian Railways"

Second Place

Johanna Tornquist, from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden, for the paper, "N-Tracked Ralway Traffic Rescheduling during Disturbances"

Honorable Mention

Soheil Sidbari, from University of Mass., Dartmouth, for the paper, "Revenue Management of Auto train at Amtrack"

First Place

Michiel J. Vromans, from the Rotterdam School of Management, for the paper, "Heterogeneity and Reliability of Railway Services"

Second Place

Guvenc Sahin, from University of Florida, for the paper, "New Approaches for Train Dispatching Problem"

Honorable Mention

Amar Kumar Narisetty, from Purdue University, for the paper, "An Optimization Model for Assignment of Empty Cars in Railroad Networks"

First Place

Krishna C. Jha, from University of Florida, for the paper, "New Approaches for Solving the Block-to-Train Assignment Problem"

Second Place

Xuesong Zhou and Ming Zhong, from University of Maryland, for the paper, "Bicriteria train scheduling for intercity passenger railroad planning applications"

Honorable Mention

Jian Liu, from University of Florida, for the paper, "Solving Real-Life Railroad Blocking Problems"
Steven Harrod, from University of Cincinnati, for the paper, "Timetable Buffer Magnitude and Allocation: An Analysis Using Simulation"
2002 First Place

Jian Liu, from University of Florida, for the paper, "Solving Real-Life Locomotive Scheduling Problems"

Ramon M. Lentink, from Erasmus University and Dennis Huisman, from Erasmus University, for the paper, "Shunting Passenger Train Units in a Railway Station"
Second Place Jodelson Sabino, from Federal University of Espirito Santo, for the paper, "Ant Colony Systems Applied to Switch Engine Assignment and Routing in a Railroad Yard"