New OR Prize for Applied Research

VeRoLog Solver Challenge on Transport Optimisation

Karlsruhe, Germany, 28 January 2014. In collaboration with VeRoLog, the EURO Working Group on Vehicle Routing and Logistics Optimization, PTV Group has initiated the first VeRoLog Solver Challenge (VSC2014). This year's competition focuses on a specific transport planning issue to be solved by means of Operations Research (OR) methods. The aim is to propose solutions to practical problems using scientific methods. More than 20 teams from 16 countries and five continents have already registered for the VeRoLogSolver Challenge. The prize will be awarded at the VeRoLog Conference, which takes place in Oslo, from 22 - 25 June 2014.

The VeRoLog Working Group deals with numerous transport planning and logistics optimisation issues. It consists of 600 members worldwide and is a part of EURO (Association of the European Operational Research Societies). VeRoLog and PTV Group believe that this new Challenge is an important step in bringing research and practice closer together. The jury is chaired by Werner Heid, Director Logistics Components, PTV Group. Further members include Dr. Geir Hasle, Chief Research Scientist, SINTEF, and Professor Dr. Daniele Vigo, University of Bologna.

Heid, one of the initiators of the new prize, says: "This prize is aimed at contributing to the approach of using scientific methods for solving real-life and not just academic issues. Advanced, powerful optimisation methods can make a significant contribution to addressing new real-life challenges, in particular in the field of transport logistics."

The task

PTV Group has chosen this year's task to be solved by the participants. They have to find a solution to a specific Swap Body Vehicle Routing Problem (SB-VRP). A given quantity (i.e. weight, volume or shipping units) has to be delivered to a certain number of customers. Deliveries must not be split, which means each customer is visited once only. The goods must be delivered to each customer within a given period of time. The vehicle fleet which consists of trucks, semi-trailers and swap bodies, is located at a single depot. Every route starts and finishes at this location. The road transport vehicles can be combined as follows: truck carrying one swap body or train (truck and semi-trailer) carrying two swap bodies. For some customers it is not allowed to use truck/trailer units. Semi-trailers and swap bodies may also be parked or swapped at swap locations. The maximum driving time for the truck/trailer units and the loading capacity of the swap bodies may not be exceeded. The goal is to minimize the total road logistics costs consisting of fixed costs and variable route and time costs.

The test

All participants are encouraged to submit their implemented solutions in the form of an executable program to the jury. The program performance will then be tested on the basis of several test instances which assess the quality, the run times and the correctness of the solutions created by the participants. All codes and procedures will of course remain the property of the participants and will not be forwarded to third parties.



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PTV. The Mind of Movement

PTV Group takes a holistic approach that integrates all aspects of traffic, transport and logistics to create and promote sustainable mobility. Recognised as global market leader, PTV develops intelligent software solutions for transport logistics, traffic planning and traffic management. Thus cities, companies and people save time and money, enhance road safety and minimise the impact on the environment. Based on its unique expertise in every facet of mobility, PTV ensures that people and goods arrive at their destinations safe and sound, and on time.

More than 2,500 cities deploy PTV products. Trips and routes for over one million vehicles are planned with our software. The European transport model, which encompasses all passenger transport and freight movements in Europe, is developed using PTV software. We currently have more than 700 colleagues worldwide committed to driving the high performance of our products. PTV’s headquarters, located in the heart of the Karlsruhe technology region, house the company’s centre of development and innovation. From here, PTV plans and optimises everything that moves people and goods worldwide – it's the central idea which has accompanied the Group since its foundation in 1979.

The German company PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG is a member of PTV Group. www.ptvgroup.com

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Petra Gust-Kazakos
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Phone:+49 721-9651-546

Werner Heid, Director Logistics Components, PTV Group