Time-Ahead Pricing of Energy Supply

The management of the electricity system is fundamentally changing and becoming increasingly challenging. This is mainly due to the transition to low carbon, sustainable, and renewable energy sources; and the need to reliably satisfy increasing energy demands in a scarce resourced, highly competitive, and interconnected economy. As a result, the development of novel and improved quantitative tools is required to support decision-making in all areas of the energy market (e.g., pricing of energy, optimal power flow, unit commitment problems, etc.). These tools will play a keystone role in supporting the continued evolution towards a smart grid for the generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption of electric energy.

In this case the aim is to consider one key decision-making process within the management of the distribution electricity system; namely, how to price the energy for the end consumers. This problem alone has been the subject of very active developments. Here, we will focus on one of the key aspects (among many others) that plays a role in deciding the price of energy for end consumers. That is, we will focus on taking into account the fact that consumers have the ability to change their energy consumption behavior based on the energy price at a given moment in time. The goal of your team is to develop effective, quantitative, user-friendly tools to support the desired energy pricing decisions by using the AIMMS modeling environment. AIMMS is an optimization modeling technology that is used by leading companies for supporting and improving decision-making in a wide range of industries. Further information about AIMMS is given below, and here.

See the problem description below for more information:

Problem description (updated 01/29/14)
Problem data (updated 04/07/14)

(NOTE (01/29/14): The second part of the problem’s description has been updated to take into account the customers’ utility. If you have already downloaded an earlier version of the case description, note that the changes that have been made in the text (as well as a couple of minor corrections) are highlighted in blue in the current version of the problem’s description.)

Finalist and Honorable Mention Teams

The finalists have been chosen!


  • Team: Coppta
  • Institution: Universidad de los Andes
  • Members: Daniel M. Eslava, Jorge A. Huertas, and Andrés F. Pardo
  • Advisor: Jaime E. Gonzalez


  • Team: Gerad 5459
  • Institution: École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • Members: Elspeth Adams, Mathilde Peyrega
  • Advisor: Miguel F. Anjos


  • Team: ISU-IMSE
  • Institution: Iowa State University
  • Members: Bokan Chen, Leilei Zhang
  • Advisor: Lizhi Wang

The organizers would also like to recognize the following teams.

Honorable Mention

  • Team: The Good, the Bad and the OPT
  • Institution: University of Pisa/Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa
  • Members: Stefano Massei, Alessandro Neri, Leonardo Gigli
  • Advisor: Antonio Frangioni

Honorable Mention

  • Team: RensPolymatheIa
  • Institution: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Members: Xin Shen, Jubiao Yang, Biao Mao
  • Advisor: John E. Mitchell

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 must 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 2013-2014 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 AIMMS 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 and 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 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: 21 January 2014
Solutions Due: 13 June 2014
Finalists Chosen: 4 July 2014


The registration form for this competition is closed.

Solution submission

The submission form for this competition is 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.