Students representing the Faculty of Energy and Fuels among winners of Process Simulation Cup

photo: private archive of MSc Ewelina Brodawka and Eng. Kamil Krzemień

MSc. Ewelina Brodawka, a PhD student at the Faculty of Energy and Fuels won the international competition known as Process Simulation Cup (PCS2017) with Eng. Kamil Krzemień – chemical technology student of the same faculty – coming third. In addition, AGH UST came top of the ranking of participating institutions with the largest number of contenders and second best longest-leading participating institution of the contest.

The event attracted over 150 students and PhD candidates representing 70 leading technical colleges and universities from all over the world. The all-year competition for the title of overall winner required that the contestants first of all demonstrate their skills in chemical and process engineering and chemical simulations as well as the knowledge of automation engineering and industrial process control.

The main goal of the competition was to minimize biogas losses through optimisation of process parameters (PID controller settings). By modifying the numerical values of eight parameters selected by the organisers, the contenders were asked to find an optimum solution using ChemCad process simulator. Each participant would then send their set of parameters, which was later verified by the organisers in the simulator and entered on a ranking list published on a publicly-available website. The entry listed the participant’s current position in the ranking and information about the margin by which his or her score was worse than the current best. No one, apart from the current winner, knew the best current score or sets of parameters submitted by other participants. Each contender could submit any number of results by entering them on a dedicated form available on the official Cup website and thus improve their score. Participants could join the competition at any time. The name of the current leader was announced once a month, while at the end of the competition the organisers announced final winners in five categories, these being: 

  • best solution on the submission closing day – the most important category which determined the final winner on the last day of the competition,
  • best solution on the last day of each month before submission closing day – the leader for the highest number of months during the competition year (2nd place: MSc. Ewelina Brodawka),
  • highest number of participants from an academic institution – recognising institutions represented by the highest number of students (AGH UST with its 101 contestants dominated the competition),
  • highest number of minutes a participant was leading the highscore table – recognising top contenders with the highest number of minutes in the lead throughout the competition year (2nd place: Ewelina Brodawka),
  • highest number of minutes an academic institution was leading the highscore table – (AGH UST came second best).

Interestingly, students and PhD candidates who entered the competition had the chance to compare their results with those of university researchers and industry representatives, who could also submit their solutions. Their results were entered on the highscore table as ‘OC’ (out of competition). This category was won by MSc. Jakub Szczurowski of the Faculty of Energy and Fuels.

The Cup winners were invited to take part in Teaching Process Simulation 2018 held last February in Berlin. During the conference, the winners presented their best solutions and were first to be introduced to the details of the challenge and rules of the forthcoming edition of the Cup.

It is of note that the winner – MSc. Ewelina Brodawka repeated her success from two years ago, when she won first place at PCS2015.

Process Simulation Cup is organised by the European division of Chemstations – the company producing software for technological simulations called Chemcad.