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Supercomputing Challenge

Don't Tump Over: An Arbitrary Cargo Hold Model

Team: 32


Area of Science: Transportation Engineering



We intend to create a model, first two-dimensional and time allowing three dimensional, of a cargo hold being loaded with packages. Our intent is to develop and implement in C++ an algorithm which loads these packages efficiently while considering fragility, balance, and accessibility.

We will attempt to increase program efficiency by collecting into stable groups, or “stacks”, which can be treated as single packages. These stacks will then be fit into the dimensions of the cargo hold in such a way that each surface of each package contacts another package or a surface of the cargo hold so as to prevent shifting during transport. The hold’s center of mass will be considered as the packages are being placed and will be kept as close as possible to the center of the hold through balanced placement of the stacks.

We intend to create stacks by following “ziggurat” and “bricklaying” criteria: as elevation of the packages in the stack increases, their mass and base area will decrease so as to avoid making stacks unwieldy or unstable (the “ziggurat” method) and smaller packages of similar weights will be fitted into each layer to keep stacks as rectangular as possible (the “bricklaying” method). Time allowing, we also intend to provide for abnormally shaped packages.

Our program will generate a randomly sized hold and a list of packages with randomly determined masses and dimensions in order to demonstrate its tolerance for variable input. It will then organize these packages by loading priority, form stacks, organize the stacks by loading priority, and provide the user with the order in which the packages should be loaded and the locations where they should be placed. We intend to write a graphical front-end with the Allegro library for our project to display the layout of packages in a loaded hold and to allow the user to view the features of individual packages.



The "ziggurat" method of stack creation


The "bricklaying" method of stack creation

Team Members:

  Charles Boling
  William Laub
  Jennifer Keller

Sponsoring Teacher: NA

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