If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of frustrating flight delays and cancellations. And you’ve probably had fleeting moments when you’ve wondered if the airline was run by a bunch of monkeys. But did you ever think you could do a better job? Well, if you’re nerdy enough mathematically inclined, here’s your chance.
General Electric wants the public to help solve the mathematical processes applied to flight scheduling. Offering $500,000 in total prize money — $100,000 for the winner — the company has launched a competition called the “GE Flight Quest Challenge” for you to develop a usable and scalable algorithm that delivers a real-time flight profile to the pilot, helping them make flights more efficient and reliably on time.
Contest submissions will be judged based on algorithm predictions for plane arrivals at the runway and the gate. Using practice data sets, entrants have to submit a final model in February next year. The winner’s model will be released as a test-bed on airline systems in March 2013.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- American Airlines rolled out new airfare “upgrade” packages this week available on all round-trip flights. For an extra $68, you can now get a checked bag, priority boarding and no fee if you need to change your flight reservation.
- Hotels chains are upgrading their toiletry lines, believing that a shampoo brand can make a difference to travelers who already stock their homes with high-end products. Apparently, by upgrading to a fancier toiletry line, a hotel can boost its appeal to travelers – and, in turn, justify higher rates from those who truly appreciate the products.
- Have you ever wondered what happens to your scissors, knives, snowglobes, or your kid’s Play-Doh after they are confiscated at airport security checkpoints? It ends up in state-run auctions or stores, where thrifty customers can rummage through bins of objects from the TSA’s no-fly list. Yuuuuuup! Some states are making hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling your stuff.