Passenger delays and gate congestion are a fact of life when flying, which is why a team from Signapore won a $100,000 prize for developing an algorithm that could help offset both. 

The goal of the Flight Quest contest was to help airlines make better arrival estimates. Airlines aren't great at predicting when a flight will arrive at its destination, and that wastes everyones' time and money. For travelers, the faulty arrival times can lead to five minute-plus delays, while airlines lose around $1.2 million in annual crew costs and $5 million in annual fuel savings. 

The Signapore team's algorithm produced flight estimates that were almost 40% better than current ones, and could help airlines reduce gate congestion, writes MIT Technology Review. It also represents GE Electric, who sponsored the contest with Alaska Airlines, first step toward building a recommendation system for pilots and dispatchers, and making air travel more efficient. 

To learn more about Flight Quest and the winning algorithm, visit

[via MIT Technology Review]