During the University Day hosted by the Utrecht University Fund on 1 April 2017, Roel van den Broek, alumnus in Computing Science, was presented with the 2016 Vliegenthart Thesis Award. His thesis, entitled ‘Train Shunting and Service Scheduling: an integrated local search approach’, made a big impression on the jury of five. 'His thesis is a perfect example of fundamental research with a crucial impact.' Van den Broek's research wins him the sum of €2,000.
The winning thesis offers a solution to the complex scheduling of shunting, cleaning and minor maintenance on trains at NS service locations. When Van den Broek began his research at NedTrain, scheduling was done manually; a difficult and time-consuming process. Van den Broek's research involved developing an advanced algorithm based on local search that automates this process. NedTrain started to use the software developed by Van den Broek immediately, and created a PhD candidate position for him.