December 27, 2013, by Graham Kendall
Pack Santa’s Sleigh and share a prize pool of $10,000
It’s a little late to help Santa this year, but as this competition does not close until the 26th January 2014, I guess the man in red is already looking towards next year!
The competition, arranged by Kaggle, asks you to pack Santa’a sleigh in the most efficient way possible. It is actually an abstraction of the 3D bin packing problem, which has many practical uses, such as loading lorries, filling containers and loading pallets.
I must admit to having a liking for this problem as my PhD was in a related area (2D packing – some of my papers in this area can be seen here), although I have since published (see here for an example) on the 3D problem.
In this festive version, we are helping Santa load up his sledge with as many presents as possible. If you think that you are good enough, why not give it a go. How hard can it be!