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Warp Drive Bucket Trip Bid Creation Screen

The Warpdirve Bucket Bid Screen introduces an extremely powerful way to turn pairings into valid schedules and to generate amazingly compact yet complete bid scripts.   The wonderful thing is that Bid Central does all of the hard work of creating these bucket bids. Before describing the specific screen controls and capability I will introduce the concepts associated with "Bucket Bidding."

  • A Pairing Bucket:  A pairing bucket is a container that contains all "Bookmarked" pairings that operate within the date range you select when you define the bucket.  Just as with the Ramjet, you must create a population of "Bookmarked" pairings for Bid Central to do it's thing with schedule analysis.  You can have up to six buckets, each with a different date range.  Date ranges should NOT overlap or it will be impossible for BC to find conforming schedules.  Each bucket is shown as a list of pairing numbers along with that pairing's departure date date.  If a pairing within a bucket operates more than once within the dates specified for that bucket, that pairing will appear more than once with different operating dates for each entry.  You can display any pairing in any bucket by double left-clicking on the pairing number.  You can remove a pairing from a bucket by right-clicking the pairing number in the list.  Note:  If the bucket contains only one pairing, BC will not allow you to remove it.  Removing a pairing from a bucket does not "Unbookmark" that pairing.  Buckets do not have to be in chronological order, but Bid Central will put them in the proper order in the Bucket created the bid script.  When BC analyzes pairings within buckets to see if each combination creates a conforming schedule, it does so from left to right and top to bottom and there must be a pairing from each bucket in every schedule.  The first round of processing simply guarantees that the schedules are "legal", without regard to schedule credit value.  If you select a credit range, BC will build schedules and eliminate combinations that don't meet the schedule credit range if specified.  If after generating schedules with in a credit window there are unused trips within any buckets,  the [Show only Pairings Used in Build Scheds] button will be enabled.  
  • Conforming Bucket Schedules:  Conforming bucket schedules are those schedules in which every combination of pairings within all the buckets results in a legal schedule.  Creating such schedules allows you to create a bid script that will allow PBS to select from any of the trips in bucket one, followed by any of the trips in bucket two, followed by any of the trips in succeeding buckets and guarantee that you will get a legal schedule.  You can specify the hourly range that must be guaranteed for any schedules within the conforming bucket schedules and of course that will limit the schedule possibilities.  Note: Even with the subset of pairings selected when building schedules within a credit window, it might also be possible to build schedules from those pairings outside that window.  If your desired schedule credit window is close to the maximum allowable credit value for your category, be sure to select the Bid script Option to "Set Condition Max Schedule" so that PBS will not award lower value schedules.
  • Bucket Bid Script:  A bucket bid script is different in that you don't have to bookmark any schedules to create it.  Bid Central will allow you to append Bucket Bid Scripts to create as many bucket bid lines as you like.   Here is an example of a Bucket Script Line:

                 2: Award Pairings if Departing Between Dec 02, 2012 AND Dec 02, 2012 If Pairing Number 4573,4743,4890
                       Followed By Pairings if Departing Between Dec 08, 2012 AND Dec 10, 2012 If Pairing Number 4505,4516,4601
                            Followed By Pairings if Departing Between Dec 28, 2012 AND Dec 30, 2012 If Pairing Number 4498,5147

    This single PBS bid line is the equivalent of requesting 18 different specific schedule combinations.  With more pairings the number of schedule combinations possible in one line goes up geometrically and that is why this is so powerful for junior bidders!

    Each Pairing Number List following "If Pairing Number" is the list of conforming pairings within the bucket for the departure dates specified.  The pairings are listed in "Rank" order- i.e. the same rank you assigned to the pairing when you "bookmarked" it.  The beauty of this bid is that if PBS is able to select any pairing from each list you are guaranteed to have a legal schedule that meets your requirements.  This is an extremely beneficial assist for junior bidders where you cannot be assured of being awarded any given pairing.  The above bid is simple because the are only three pairings in the longest pairing list.  You can have bids with many more pairings in each pairing list (i.e. bucket).
  • Warpdrive Schedule Generator:  The Bid Bucket Screen works in conjunction with the Warpdrive Schedule Generator to find conforming pairings and to generate schedules within a bid range.  Anytime BC generates schedules from the Trip Bucket Creation Form, the Warpdrive screen is displayed.  Many of the functions of this screen are exactly the same as the Ramjet.  However, use the Trip Bucket Screen to create Bid Scripts instead of using the traditional method in the Warpdrive Screen or you will forfeit the benefits that Trip Bucket Bidding gives you.  As of Rev 19, you may select days off in the Warpdrive and if you check the box "Honor SG Days OFF", the Warpdrive SG will honor your selected days off when building schedules.  This can be quite useful if you want to further refine your schedule days.  If you do this, you should include your desired days off in your bucket bid script.  

    Trip Bucket Bid Creation Form Controls
  • Number of Buckets Selection:  This value can be between one and six.  When you change this value, the number of buckets will appear to match the value you select.  Unless you have previously defined the dates in a bucket, the buckets will be empty.  As you change the dates that define each bucket, BC will populate that bucket with the "Bookmarked" pairings that operate within the date range you select.  The pairings in the bucket will appear in "Rank" order.  If the pairing operates on more than one date within the bucket date range you define, the pairings will appear in chronological sequence with their rank position.  You can display any pairing in any bucket by double left-clicking on the pairing number.  You can remove a pairing from a bucket by right-clicking the pairing number in the list.  You can expand the screen vertically to show more of the trips in each bucket as each list will expand when you expand the vertical dimension of the screen.
  • Get Min/Max Scheds:  When you press this command button, Bid Central will create and show the minimum and maximum value schedules that can be defined by the pairings in the buckets you've defined.  Please note that if you have not selected the command button [Identify Bucket Pairings that are Schedule Compatible] the pairings combinations displayed will not necessarily be conforming schedules, they will simply be theoretical combinations that haven't yet been verified as conforming.
  • Show Selected Sched:  When you press this button, Bid Central will show the schedule and it's credit value for a schedule consisting of the highlighted pairing number in each bucket.  If no pairings in a bucket are highlighted, then the first trip will be used in the schedule.  You highlight a paring by clicking on it.  If you have eliminated non-conforming pairings, every schedule that you show will be a legal schedule.  The schedule value is the sum of the trip values plus carry-in plus any scheduled activities you have placed on the Flight Calendar.
  • Eliminate Bucket Trips that are Not Schedule Compatible:  When you press this command button the magic begins.  Bid Central will look at each schedule combination from the buckets you've defined and eliminate any pairings that are not conforming, in other words that do not allow for creation of a legal schedule from all of the other pairings in the other buckets.  Bid Central uses the Warpdrive Schedule Generator to do this analysis and this screen is actually hidden in the background.  It is essentially the same age the Ramjet Schedule Generator with a few exception described below.  Pairings that are incompatible with conforming schedules are removed from each bucket.  If the last bucket becomes empty, Bid Central will eliminate that bucket automatically and reduce the number of buckets by one.  However, before allowing an empty last bucket to be eliminated, BC will eliminate trips in the first bucket one-by-one and run the analysis again to see that all combinations are attempted.  Remember, the goal here is to eliminate all pairings that do not work with all of the other pairings in the other buckets.  Once the pairings are identified that go together to create conforming schedules it's easy to see how many possible schedule combinations there will be.  That is the number of pairings in each bucket multiplied by the number of pairing in the other buckets.  For example, if there are 3 pairings in bucket one, 3 pairings in bucket two, and 4 pairings in bucket three, then there are a total of 3 x 3 x 4 = 36 possible schedule combinations.
  • Refresh ALL Bucket Lists from Bookmarked Pairings:  When you press this button, Bid Central will repopulate all the buckets you have defined with the currently "Bookmarked" pairings that match the dates for the respective bucket.  The [Refresh] buttons above each bucket list will repopulate only that bucket with the appropriate pairings from the total population of "Bookmarked" pairings.  If you want the Warpdive to consider your complete population of bookmarked pairings, click this button before you do anything else.
  • Show Bookmarked Pairings:  Pressing this button will bring up the familiar "Matching Pairings Display Window" and show all of your "Bookmarked" pairings.
  • Gen Schedules:  This button will use the Warpdrive Schedule Generator to build all of the possible schedule combinations from your pairing buckets.  This button will only be enabled after conforming schedules have been first identified by pressing [Eliminate Bucket Pairings that are Not Schedule Compatible].  If you check  "Auto Generate Schedules", then schedules will be created automatically after conforming pairings are identified.  If you check "Eliminate Sched if not within credit range", the schedule credit range window will open.  This is synchronized with the same window in the Warpdrive Screen and the synchronization is two-way.  While the Warpdrive is building schedules, you will see a schedule counter in the Trip Bucket Creation Form.  After schedules are created, the synchronize check box will appear and be checked.  This box causes the schedules shown in the Warpdrive to synchronize and show the same schedules in the Trip Buckets by highlighting the pairings in each bucket corresponding to the pairings displayed in the Warpdrive.  This synchronization is only one-way however.
  • Honor SG Days OFF:  Check this box if you want the Warpdrive Schedule Generator to honor days off you've selected in the Ramjet Calendar.
  • Show Only Pairings Used in Built Scheds:  When the Warpdrive builds schedules within a specified credit window, it is possible that some pairings will not work in any combination within other pairings to honor the credit range defined.  Those schedules go unused.  You can eliminate the unused schedules from each bucket by clicking this button.  This button will be enabled only if there are "unused" pairings after BC creates schedules.  When you click this button several things happen.  (1) Unused Pairings are eliminated from each bucket.  (2)  Schedule synchronization if active is turned of and disabled until you re-generate schedules.   (3)  The button is disabled because there are no longer "unused" pairings in the buckets.  After clicking this button you can press [Gen Schedules] once again to re-create all of the schedules, and all pairings will be used at least once.  Schedule synchronization will once again be enabled unless you disable it by un-checking "Synchronize" 
  • Warpdrive Schedule Generator Screen:  This is a modification of the Ramjet Schedule Generator and it works mostly behind-the-scenes to do the magic of identifying conforming schedules in the Trip Bucket Bid Creation Form.  When you select [Gen Schedules] the Warpdrive Screen will appear to display the created schedules just as if you had created them in the Ramjet.  There are however a few differences in what is available in the Warpdrive. Any days off that you set in the Ramjet are automaticallyed cleared when the Warpdrive first starts if you have not checked the "Honor SG Days OFF" box. Just remember that you have already implicitly selected days off based upon the buckets and trip length you defined.  You cannot add a "fixed trip" to the Warpdrive Calendar.  The only directives available in this screen are the legality checking directives.  If you do generate schedules in the Warpdrive Schedule Generator screen using the [Create Schedules] button, just as in the Ramjet all bookmarked schedules will be used to create the schedules- the Trip Bucket Screen information will not be employed.   The only way to get conforming schedules from your Pairing Buckets is to use the [Gen Schedules] button on the Warpdrive Bucket Screen.  The Schedule Grid display is always available from this screen when schedules are present.  You can also "Bookmark" any schedules you like in this screen and generate the appropriate traditional bid script.  However, the full power of the Warpdrive is to generate the bid script for conforming trips in the Trip Bucket Bid Creation Form.  You can view and utilize the Warp Drive screen at anytime from the Bucket Bid Creation Screen by pressing [View Warp Drive].  There is a [Hide] button on the Warpdrive instead of Exit because the Warpdrive must always be available when the Trip Bucket Creation Form is active.
  • Eliminate Scheds if not within credit range:  When you check this box, BC will display the schedule min/max range selection control.  This control is synchronized with the same control in the Warp Drive screen. The selection values are selectable in 15 minute increments. When this control is active, the schedule range you select will apply and filter any schedule generated when you select [Gen Schedules].
  • Auto Generate Schedules:  When this box is checked, BC will automatically generate and display (in the Warp Drive Screen) all conforming schedules found after pressing [Eliminate Bucket Trips that are Not Schedule Compatible].
  • Generate Bid Script:  When you click this button, Bid Central will create a Bid Script line that match the trips current trips in the buckets.  If you have checked "Append", BC will append the newly created line to the previous script and line numbering will be preserved and correct.  BC will off the option to display the newly created script.  There are two options you can select from (if available) for created Bid Scripts.  The first is to create a Bid Script using all pairings in all buckets.  The second is to create a script using only the pairings used the last time you generated schedules.  Note: BC will not allow you to create a Bid Script until you have pressed [Eliminate Bucket Trips that are Not Schedule Compatible] since populating or repopulating the pairing buckets.  This is to prevent any non-conforming schedule possibilities from getting into your Bid Script.
  • Synchronize:  This check box will be active only when schedule synchronization is possible.  When checked any schedule shown in the Warpdrive will also show the same schedule in the trip buckets by highlighting the pairings in that schedule.  This synchronization is only one-way from the Warpdrive to the trip buckets.  Anytime that you change the trips in any bucket, synchronization is turned off and disabled until schedules are generated anew.

    Right-clicking over any pairing in any bucket will bring up a menu which allows you to do one of three things:  (1) Remove that pairing on that date from the bucket.  (2) Change the ranking for that pairing within the bucket, or un-bookmark the pairing altogether.    When you do this, the pairing order in the buckets will automatically be updated.  (3) Display the pairing in it's entirety.