Railway Applications Section

2010 RAS Problem Solving Competition

Locomotive Refueling Problem

Problem Description

Organizing Committee

Homarjun Agrahari (BNSF Railway)
Juan Morales (BNSF Railway)
Kamalesh Somani (CSX Corporation)
Erick Wikum (IBM)
Vinay Mendiratta (Norfolk Southern Corporation)
Carl VanDyke (Oliver Wyman)
Shankara Kuppa (Union Pacific Railroad)
Michael Gorman (University of Dayton)
Seyed Mohammad Nourbakhsh (University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign)
Yanfeng Ouyang (University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign)

Prizes and Sponsors

First Prize: $2500

Second Prize: $1500

Third Prize: $1000

Each team will also receive a certificate.

Thanks to our sponsors


Winners of the 2010 Problem Solving Competition can be found here.

A document compiling the problem description and the reports of the winners the 2010 Competition can found on the link below:


Teams of up to 3 members can participate. Every team must register. To register, please send following information to Homarjun.Agrahari@bnsf.com

Team Name
For each team member, provide the following:

Member Name, Email, Organization, Position
New to Railroad (Y/N)
New to Operations Research (Y/N)

Brief statement describing what motivated you to participate.

You will receive an email confirming your team’s successful registration and eligibility.

Questions and Answers

If you have any questions about the competition problem, submit your question to Kamalesh_Somani@CSX.com and Juan.Morales@bnsf.com In fairness to all participants, RAS will publish a Q&A on website. All participants will receive Q&A document through email as well. If there are any more questions, similar process will be repeated. No questions will be entertained after August 15, 2010.

Important Dates

June 15 - Last date to register
August 15 - Last date to submit a clarification question
September 15 - Final written problem solution submitted
October 1 - Finalists selected by judging panel [Update: Due to overwhelming response,
the judging panel is unable to decide finalists by this date. We will post the revised
date soon. Please bear with us. Thanks]
November 6 - Finalist Presentation and winner announced

Judging Criteria

All participating teams must submit the following by the due date.

  1. A report not exceeding 5 pages, normal margins, double spacing, font size of 10. The report must include title page describing the team members, their affiliations, clean and concise description of problem formulation, solution method, and implementation details (Software/Hardware) and results.
  2. Problem solution in the RAS spreadsheet (Problem.xls). Make sure you provide the soution in the prescribed format.
  3. Computer program/model.

The judging panel will select up to three finalists based on the following criteria:

  1. Solution Quality
  2. Quality of report
  3. Novelty and elegance of the formulation and solution approach

The finalists will make a presentation at the Informs Annual Meeting in Austin. Aside from the previous factors, the Judging Panel will take into consideration the clarity of the presentation to make a final decision about the first, second and third places for the competition. Being in the finalist does not guarantee first/second or third place.


E-mail all files described on section 9 to RASProblemSolvingCompetition@gmail.com specifying your team’s name in the e-mail’s subject. Attach only three files: (i) the report, (ii) the spreadsheet with the solution and (iii) a zip file (.zip) containing all supporting files. The name of the file for the report and the spreadsheet must match the group’s name

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Key Contacts

Xuesong Zhou (xzhou74@asu.edu), Arizona State University, RAS Chair 2016

April Kuo (april.kuo@bnsf.com), BNSF, RAS Vice Chair 2016

Shantih Spanton (shantih_spanton@csx.com), CSX, RAS Secretary 2016

Gunnar Feldmann (gunnar.feldmann@nscorp.com), Norfolk Southern Corporation, RAS Treasurer 2016

Tyler Dick (ctdick@illinois.edu), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, RAS PR Officer 2016

Golnoosh Miri (gmiri@asu.edu), Arizona State University, RAS Webmaster 2016

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