December 6, 2013, by Graham Kendall

What route will Santa take this Christmas?

Earlier this week, I asked for ideas that featured research with a Christmas theme (and also see the broader Christmas category)

I was fortunate to get an email from a very good friend of mine (Dr Neil Urquhart, from Napier University) who sent me details of a very nice application he, and his colleagues, have developed.

The Route Santa application enables you to add your house (I have already added our campus!) to Santa’s route and then he will decide how best to visit all the houses to drop off all those presents. The project also has a Facebook page.

Underlying the application is some serious science, which you can read about here. This gives a very simple introduction to complex problems such as the Travelling Salesman Problem and how they can be optimised (or at least attempted to be optimised) by Evolutionary Algorithms. A while ago I blogged on these type of problems in the What is Operations Research? post.

Neil: Very nice idea, but please make sure that the University of Nottingham gets good presents. There are almost 6,000 staff and students here. Please don’t miss anybody!

Route Santa (Screen shot from the web site -

Route Santa (Screen shot from the web site –

Posted in BlogChristmas