Operation Room Management Under Uncertainty

An Operating Room (OR) is the unit of a hospital where surgical procedures are performed. A recent study by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) estimated that ORs generate about 42% (if not more) of a hospital’s revenues. Moreover, the same study states that improvements in the management of ORs can generate anywhere from $4 million to $7 million in additional annual revenue for the average-sized hospital organization. Reducing the downtime (idle time) of both ORs and surgeons is one of the ways in which the use of OR resources can be greatly improved. OR managers control these downtimes by developing appropriate schedules for surgeries and corresponding OR procedures. Besides the inherent complexity of scheduling problems, improving OR scheduling is further complicated by the uncertainty of the time required to perform OR procedures.

In this competition, your team will consider a particular instance of an OR scheduling and sequencing problem. The goal of your team is to develop effective, quantitative, user-friendly tools to support an OR manager’s scheduling and sequencing decisions by using the AIMMS modeling environment. See the problem description below for more information:

Problem description
Problem data

For the registration and submission forms, please see below.

Finalist and Honorable Mention Teams

The finalists have been chosen!


  • Team: OptNAR, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and INTEC
  • Members: Raul Pulido Martinez, Natalia Ibañez Herrero, (TU-Madrid), Adrian Marcelo Aguirre (INTEC)
  • Advisor: Miguel Ortega Mier (TU-Madrid)


  • Team: ORopt, Technische Universität Berlin and ZIB
  • Members: Alexander Tesch (TU-Berlin)
  • Advisor: Ralf Borndörfer (ZIB)


  • Team: Universiteit Twente, Universiteit Twente
  • Members: Corine Laan, Clara Stegehuis
  • Advisor: Bodo Manthey


  • Team: ORTEC, ORTEC, University of Amsterdam
  • Members: Harmen Boersma, Tristan Hands, Jan-Willem Arentshorst
  • Advisor: Frans van Helden

The organizers would also like to recognize the following team.

Honorable Mention

  • Team: PolytHEC, École Polytechnique de Montréal and HEC
  • Members: Jean Bertrand Gauthier (HEC), Antoine Legrain, Étienne Beauchamp (École Polytechnique de Montréal)
  • Advisor: Louis-Martin Rousseau (École Polytechnique de Montréal)

We want to thank all participants this year. The competition has been a great success!


Teams of at most three students can participate. The team leader has to be a graduate student, though the other members of the team can be advanced undergraduate students. Each member of the team must be registered as a full-time student at a recognized educational institution during the Spring term of the 2012-2013 academic year. Students with any background are eligible. Collaboration between students from different departments is strongly encouraged. Each team must declare a team advisor with which the team may consult about the problem and their solution. It is the team advisor’s responsibility to ensure that the students have appropriate knowledge for the competition. The team advisor should not be involved as a participant in the solution process.

As the conference is international, so is the competition. Teams from all over the world can participate, as long as at least one team member can come to the conference, should the team make it to the final round. The official language of the competition is English.

After your team has registered, you will receive license files and download paths for the software. There is no deadline for registration, but there is a deadline for the submission of your solution.

If you have any questions, then please contact for software and licensing related issues or for other questions about the competition.

Competition format

The competition consists of a few stages. In the first stage the teams are asked to construct models and solution methods (see the problem description above) using AIMMS. They must submit a complete solution to the problem, including:

  • implementation of models in AIMMS, including a graphical user interface, providing the user with graphical and textual output;
  • solutions of the models for the given data sets, and those for other data sets generated;
  • a 10-15 page report that discusses the models developed (along with mathematical background), the solutions obtained, and further recommendations.

A panel of judges, including representatives from both the conference organizing committee and Paragon Decision Technology (the developer of AIMMS) evaluates the submissions, provides feedback to the teams and invites finalists to continue in the second stage of the project and present their work at a dedicated session of the conference. In this second stage, the finalists will receive advice from the panel on ways in which they can improve their model and solution and have time before the conference to continue to improve their solution. After the presentations at the conference, the judges will ask questions. The finalists are ranked based on a combined score for their model, implementation, report, solution, oral presentation, and answers to the judges’ questions. The decision of the judges is final and cannot be appealed.


Each finalist team will receive free registration for the conference for up to two team members. In addition, a cash prize will be awarded to the team that wins the overall competition.

Important dates

Case Study Posted: 11 January 2013
Solutions Due: 14 June 2013
Finalists Chosen: 28 June 2013


The submission form for this competition is now closed.

Solution submission

The submission form for this competition is now closed.


By submitting an entry to the competition you agree that the organizers own the copyright to a copy of your submission. This does not limit your rights to publish your work, give talks, posters, etc., but grants the organizers of the competition the right to use your work.