XL Airways, a leading and award winning UK charter airline based at Gatwick, operates a complex timetable to over 50 charter destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America from 11 airports in the UK. Consequently, it needs to ensure that it has enough pilots to meet its timetable requirements and that its timetabling operation runs as efficiently as possible, taking into account both human resources and legislation. For example, it needs to ensure that not only are its pilots in the right place at the right time but that the rules and regulations concerning flying hours are strictly adhered to.
Working in small teams, the University’s computing students are now constructing solutions to the scheduling problem using processes and methods for software design and development which they are learning in their module Software Engineering Practice. They also have the opportunity to continuously refine their understanding of the problem by interrogating XL Airways via an online forum.
The project ends in early January.
Professor Simon Thompson, Director and Head of the Computing Laboratory at the University of Kent, said: ‘It is difficult for any university department to provide realistic problems for their students as typical industrial problems are complicated and large-scale. However, it is precisely this sort of problem that XL Airways has to solve and we’re extremely grateful to them for passing this on to our students.’
Daniel Hiller, Group IT Business Architect for XL Airways, a graduate of the University of Kent and the originator of the project, said: ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for our industry to work with academia and the University of Kent’s undergraduate population, which I see developing into a long-term partnership. By gaining an insight into XL’s business we hope that students will gain an appreciation for the leisure industry that could develop into future employment opportunities. I hope in this way that we can both benefit from this innovative approach to problem solving.’
Tony Hunter, a computing student at the University of Kent, said: ‘The XL Airlines project is an excellent introduction to working in a software team on a real world product, with a real world customer. We are fortunate and grateful to have been given this opportunity.’
Karen Baxter | alfa
Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668
Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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