NORS workshop “Reality bites”

30.11. – 1.12.2023

Lunch to lunch

SINTEF, Forskningsveien 1,
0373 Oslo

We are excited to invite you for the upcoming NORS workshop “Reality bites – Bridging the gap from research to application in combinatorial optimization”.  This workshop is an excellent opportunity to learn, collaborate, and gain a deeper understanding of how research in combinatorial optimization can be translated into practical solutions. The topics will come from domains such as air and rail traffic management, electric power grids and markets, and fish farming.

Confirmed speakers and topics

Optimization of airport runway use (Dag Kjenstad, SINTEF)

The overall capacity of an airport is often limited due to runway capacity. Over a decade we have studied in several projects the Runway Sequencing Problem with partners from the aviation industry. This presentation gives an overview from our first prototype algorithms, which identified the potential of mathematical optimization, to a solution that is close to a commercialization phase, tackling the issues of a real-time and real-life environment.

The Role of OR in Clearing the Nordic Electricity Capacity Reserve Markets (Gavin Bell, Optimeering)

Electricity prices – and electricity markets – have become a hot topic in dinner table conversation over the past year as prices have risen to previously unseen levels in the Nordics and Europe. Hidden behind the headlines has been an increasing trend to use markets to procure many of the products and services necessary to operate the power sector, such as reserve capacity and energy. Markets for so-called primary, secondary and tertiary capacity reserves are being introduced in the Nordic power markets and are proposed or under development for a number of other European power markets. Such markets are often characterized by multiple, complex products and structured bids. Bids may be linked over time and across products. Procurement can be driven by multiple objectives, such as price and security of supply, that may be difficult to define quantitatively and to compare.

In this presentation, I introduce the Nordic capacity reserve markets, and talk about our experience in developing and implementing the optimization algorithms used by the Nordic TSOs to clear and price them.

Optimizing radial power distribution grids (Bjørnar Luteberget, SINTEF)

The choice of configuration in a power distribution grid directly impacts the grid’s reliability and cost-efficiency. Although optimiziation of nation-wide transmission grids has been studied thoroughly, the simplification and aggregation techniques used there are not as relevant for distribution grids. Distribution grids operate on the scale of a city or a region, and have different constraints and require different computational approaches compared to transmission grids. For example, switches are typically configured so that the electrical connections form a tree (called a radial configuration).

We have developed a stochastic local search approach that produces radial configurations, and also handles a range of practical constraints and objectives. Our software works on the detailed grid model directly as supplied by the grid operator from their infrastructure database. We are currently in the process of deploying this software at Norwegian DSOs to provide decision support for use both in day-to-day operations and in long-term grid planning.

Adopting Optimization in Internal Business Services of a Railway Infrastructure Manager (Andreas Nakkerud and Elise Sivertsen, Bane NOR)

The operational side of Bane NOR is expansive. Bane NOR is responsible for solving problems involving capacity planning, resource allocation, routing, scheduling, facility location, infrastructure management and may others that require some degree of optimization. To build deeper insight into our own operation, we are developing platforms for system integration and data sharing within Bane NOR. These platforms, and the data foundation they provide, open the doors for applying optimization to the many problems Bane NOR must solve. In Data & Insight, we are working on projects that enable the adoption of optimization in Train Stabling and other business areas.

Train scheduling for Traffic Management Systems (Giorgio Sartor, SINTEF)

Train Traffic Management Systems (TMSs) are taking the railway industry by storm with their intuitive interfaces and digitally integrated solutions for controlling railway traffic. A TMS should be initially able to support train controllers on achieving better punctuality, safety, infrastructure utilization, and energy savings. But in a few years, it should also be able to support complete automatic train scheduling. Unfortunately, existing TMSs are currently not able to provide train controllers with suggested optimized train schedules, let alone to automatically schedule the trains.

The train scheduling problem is a particularly complex mathematical problem that can be solved efficiently only through a combination of state-of-the-art techniques that involve mathematical programming, machine learning, and custom algorithms. In the past few years, SINTEF Optimization has developed and refined an AI-based train scheduling technology that will be able to schedule all trains in Norway in real-time. A prototype of such technology is currently tested by Bane NOR at the Oslo control center.

In this presentation, I will discuss the basic underlying mathematical principles of our technology and I will show a demo for a railway line in Norway.

Optimization in fish farming (Erlend Torgnes, Optimeering Aqua)

Abstract coming soon

Further speakers to be confirmed

Agenda highlights

  • Presentations: Get valuable insights into the latest research trends and their practical applications from renowned experts.
  • Poster sessions for PhDs: Showcase your work in the field, offering fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.
  • Panel Discussions: Engage in thought-provoking discussions with our panel of distinguished experts on the challenges and opportunities in bridging the gap between research and real-world application.
  • Networking Opportunities: Connect with fellow participants, share ideas, and foster collaborations, either during the day or at our social event (dinner) in the evening.

Who should attend

  • PhD candidates and graduate students in the field of combinatorial optimization.
  • Academics and researchers keen on exploring the practical implications of their work.
  • Professionals interested in applying optimization techniques to real-world problems.
  • Anyone passionate about the intersection of theory and application in optimization.

This is an event exclusively for NORS members, either through institutional or individual membership. Please contact us at if you want to become a member. The amount of places is limited, PhD candidates will be prioritized.


The workshop is free of charge for all NORS members. For PhD students the cost of the social event will be covered by NORS, however alcoholic drinks will not be covered. Other participants are welcome to join at a fee to cover the cost.

Please send your registration request stating your affiliation and, if you are a PhD student, a short abstract about your work until November 1st, 2023 to