The New York City subway system is a marvel, transporting more than 3 million people each day to a network of 472 stations along its almost 300-mile route. For his Design Day project, Kuleen Sasse decided to figure out how a person could navigate the entire system in the shortest amount of time possible.

It is an interesting problem because there have been many people who have attempted and achieved world records just by creating routes by hand. However, there has been little to no serious work done solving this computationally until now. I wanted to see if I can best their times using different computational methods,” said Sasse, a first-year double major in applied mathematics and statistics and computer science.

He decided to approach the problem using metaheuristics, a class of computer code that can solve large, complex problems and can be tailored to tackle specific challenges. After much work, he came up with a plan that would enable him to traverse the whole system in 22 hours and 10 minutes. This puts him in striking range of the latest Guinness World Records time (established in 2016 by New York lawyer Matthew Ahn, when the system comprised only 469 stations) of 21 hours, 28 minutes, and 14 seconds.

Sasse is considering venturing to NYC this summer to see how well his system works in practice.

“I may want to try it out in real life,” Sasse said.

This story was excerpted from The Hub. You can read the complete story here.