Student Paper Award

Student Paper Award

2021 RAS Student Paper Award Announcement

RAS (Railway Applications Section), a subdivision of INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences), is sponsoring a student research paper contest on analytics and fact-based decision making in railway applications with three cash prizes totalling 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, passenger, heavy rail, light rail, etc.).
  4. The paper must represent original research (not literature reviews) and not have 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 is submitted, and at what stage of the review process it is.
  6. The paper is expected to follow a general structure and length suitable for 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.
  9. In the event of any disagreement over the enforcement of the rules, the decision of the judges is final.
  10. Due to the hybrid format of 2021 INFORMS annual meeting, RAS student award recipients will have the option to present their work either in-person or virtually.

How to enter:

Deadline for submission is June 30,  2021 July 15, 2021 (Extended)

Submit your application at: Your submission should include contact information, supervisor’s name, affiliation and manuscript.

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). 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: paper title and the main text.

Important dates:

  • March 30, 2021 Competition announced
  • July 15, 2021 Paper submission
  • September 20, 2021 Winners announced
  • October 24-27, 2021 In-person or virtual presentation at 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA, USA.

More info

Faeze Ghofrani, Pennsylvania State University, USA, 
Yihui Wang, Beijing Jiaotong University, China,

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

Past Competition Results


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

Gert-Jaap Polinder, “Strategic Passenger Railway Timetabling”, Erasmus University Rotterdam
 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"