Dartmouth Engineering Student Honored with Airline Research Award

October 4, 2019

By Julie Bonette

Keji Wei Th’19, Dartmouth engineering PhD candidate, received the Anna Valicek Award at the Airline Group of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (AGIFORS) Symposium in Seattle on October 3. Wei was recognized for his original and innovative work in the application of operations research to airline-related business problems.

Keji Wei
PhD candidate Keji Wei Th’19

Wei won the honor for his paper, “Airline Timetable Development and Fleet Assignment Incorporating Passenger Choice,” which he co-authored with Dartmouth engineering professor Vikrant Vaze and Alexandre Jacquillat of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The paper introduces an original approach to comprehensive flight timetabling and fleet assignment while considering passengers’ travel choices, such as preferred departure time. The approach could lead to significant profit improvements for the industry, and could benefit passengers by better aligning airlines’ timetables with passengers’ travel preferences.

“I am honored to receive this award. Professor Vaze gave me the solid scientific training that introduced me to the airline operations field,” said Wei. “Also, Dartmouth has provided comprehensive training that can be difficult to find at other universities. Training in soft skills is extremely helpful to students like me whose first language is not English.”

At this year’s symposium, Wei and another finalist presented on their papers and answered questions from award committee members. In addition to the medal, Wei will receive a $2,500 prize.

“The most amazing thing is that this is Keji's second Anna Valicek medal,” said Vaze. “He won a runner-up medal two years ago for a different paper co-authored by him and me as well.”

Applicants for the award must be registered graduate students pursuing either a masters of science, masters of business administration, or doctoral degree with a research thesis in the area of operations research, engineering systems, air transportation, or management science. Award committee members considered the following criteria in reaching their decision: fundamental contribution and originality of the ideas or methods; practical importance or applicability in solving important real airline and/or airline-related business problems; methodological content and appropriateness of methods used in analysis; clarity and excellence of the exposition.