By Amy Vogel ‘20

I can’t believe I’ve already been at the Technion for five weeks; the time is flying by! I’ve just returned from a week of vacation for Passover, but the weeks leading up to the holiday were like (literally) running a marathon!

Me after running the “Technion Marathon,” a 5K race that is basically like running a marathon because the university is built on the top of a mountain.

Here at the Technion, I’ve been enjoying the more “Course 6” side of Course 1-ing. For Omar’s PhD, he is researching the possibilities of dynamic HOT lane networks. HOT (high occupancy/toll) lanes are much like HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes, except that they involve a toll. In the special case of dynamic tolls, there would be a sign on the highway before the HOT lane starts, marking the estimated travel time on the HOT lane, as well as the price, which would change depending on the estimated travel time.

Due to the laws of supply and demand, the system is a lot more complex than it may sound. For example, you could imagine that if a 20-mile HOT lane on I-95 was advertised with a 15-minute travel time, and cost just $1, it would become flooded with commuters, thus doubling or tripling the travel time, and consequently angering thousands of Bostonian drivers. My point is, dynamic HOT networks present an interesting challenge, and I am helping Omar with the code needed to investigate this topic.

So, after a week of debugging my code, at 7pm right before Passover vacation started, my code finally ran correctly!!! This week, we will start by refining the input into the code; we are using public data on the Ayalon highway, a major highway in Israel that runs through the greater Tel Aviv area.

Although there is probably no better feeling than when code runs without an error message, going outside of the Technion gates can be fun, too. A few weeks ago, my roommate and I took a trip to the beach in Haifa — although it’s not quite summer yet in Israel, it’s certainly warm enough for an afternoon beach excursion.

Sunset on the beach in Haifa

I also went right before Passover on a trip for Technion International students to see an English stand-up comedy show in Tel Aviv, which was a ton of fun. And later that week, some other students in my lab and I went into downtown Haifa and ate some amazing ice cream creations.

Some amazing and beautiful ice cream concoctions from Glidium

As they say in Hebrew, shavua tov (“good week”)!

Amy Vogel ’20 is studying abroad in Israel at Technion this semester, where she is working alongside Tomer Toledo, PhD ’03.