"The Algorithm Revolution in Air Travel Search"

Greg Galperin, ITA Software

Monday, November 15, 2004 at 4:00 P.M.

Lubrano Conference Room

Online travel is the king of e-commerce, with over $50 billion in sales this year and $110B/year forecast by the end of this decade. Luckily for computer scientists, the problem of travel search turns out to be not only lucrative but also extremely computationally challenging.

Consider the combinatorics. A round-trip between Boston and Los Angeles with one-day travel windows can be flown in millions of reasonable ways. Computing the price for any one of these, given industry fare rules, is NP-hard. Fares are updated five times a day, while seat availability updates on 42 million flights arrive 630x/second. Given all this, users expect to be shown a diverse array of convenient and inexpensive ticket options in ten seconds or less.

ITA Software has solved this problem and provides search results to millions of users each day. Although we are still small, with under 90 employees, our customers include two of the top four online travel agencies and five of the top ten US airlines. We are now expanding our "algorithm revolution" into diverse new aspects of travel search, and are seeking a few top-notch programmers to join the effort.

For more information:

Host: Amy Greenwald