Canada Research Chair in Large Transportation Network Optimization (LTNO)
Tier 1 - 2001-01-01
École Polytechnique de Montréal
Natural Sciences and Engineering
514-340-6053 ext. 6044
Optimization of large transportation systems.
To develop optimization software to manage personnel and vehicles in large transportation systems.(aircraft, trains and buses)
The Canadian National (CN) fleet consists of 1,000 locomotives hauling 2,500 trains a week. Keeping a system like this organized requires great skill, and even a little magic. But, Dr. François Soumis, a professor at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, was able to reduce CN's rolling stock by 10 per cent simply by reorganizing the way it operates. Lucky? No. He has done the same thing for airlines, trucking companies and bus lines. He is the undisputed master of work organization.
To achieve such feats, Soumis first discovered that organizational problems among players in the transportation industry have a similar mathematical structure. By incorporating into a computer program all the variables that the companies need to consider, he found a totally different way to deal with them: departures and arrivals schedules, matching the type of vehicle to suit the payload, efficient routing, rotating crews, employee schedules, maintenance, collective agreements-they're all there!
Very few researchers can bridge the gap between theory and practice so skillfully. Soumis's programs are now in use around the world, and because they improve operational efficiency, they were responsible for a 5 per cent reduction in the wage bill of the air transport industry, and a 6.2 per cent reduction in Air France's wage bill for flight attendants. Dozens of capital cities like Tokyo, Vienna and Singapore now use Soumis's programs to manage their urban transit services. What's more, because they also reduce energy use substantially, the concrete results of this research are very significant for the world's environment and economy.
Soumis's publications are authoritative in the field, both for their scientific value and for his incontrovertible demonstration that his theories work. The Chair enables more problem cases to be addressed, more factors to be taken into account, and decision-making to be revised in large transportation companies. The Canada Research Chair allows Soumis and his team to further enhance their worldwide reputation as leaders in optimization software.