A group of 60 logistics students, led by logistics expert John Bartholdi, a professor in the Stewart School, sends identical boxes bound for places like Lomé, Togo and Split, Croatia. With no indication that there’s a competition underway, each carrier picks up its parcel, and the race begins. The progress of the packages is tracked online and students follow the often byzantine journey (across oceans, rivers and jungles and sometimes by bicycle) from Atlanta, Georgia, to a location that may not even have an official street address.
Admittedly, the race is an extreme test of the carriers’ ability to deliver anywhere in the world, Bartholdi said. This year’s packages were sent on April 13 to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Burma); Tikrit, Iraq (one of the centers of Sunni insurgency); Floranopolis, Brazil (a small island); Harare, Zimbabwe and Apia, Samoa. Most packages arrived with a week or two, but one has yet to be delivered or returned.
DHL beat the competition this year, delivering first to three of the five locations and second to the remaining two. FedEx managed to deliver to three locations, and UPS delivered parcels to two. The remaining packages from FedEx and UPS went undelivered for a variety of reasons. In past races, the carriers traded wins in different locales.
While carriers usually have no trouble getting the package to the general vicinity of the package address, the last part of the package’s journey slows things down considerably.“The world’s not quite flat,” Bartholdi said. “The last mile is always the hardest.”
Bartholdi started the Great Package Race back in 2003 as a fun exercise for his logistics students. Each package provided a window into how the carriers operate, revealing everything from which hubs carriers route packages through to what types of operations functions can go wrong when a package is shipped internationally.
The carriers themselves are good sports about the race and sometimes communicate with the students about what went wrong and what went right, Bartholdi said.
The packages, containing Georgia Tech goodies such as a shirt and mug, are sent to the group’s friends and acquaintances all over the world, provided that their addresses present a suitably sadistic challenge for the carriers.
Megan McRainey | EurekAlert!
Bremen University students reach the final at robotics competition with parcel delivery robot
19.10.2016 | BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik
Discovering electric mobility in a playful way
18.08.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences