The 21st International Conference on

Random Run

The Random Run is a fun Random Sturctures & Algorithms tradition, having been run in every RS&A conference. The Random Run is a footrace whose length will be determined by a randomized procedure. The length of the race will be the sum of two dice rolls, times 400 meters (the length of the CMU track). Thus, the expectation of the race length is 7 laps (2.8 km or 1.74 miles), while the maximum possible race length is 12 laps (4.8 km or 2.98 miles).

One die will be rolled just before the race begins. As the leading runner is about to finish the number of laps rolled, a second die will be rolled, and that many more laps must be run. All finishers will run the same distance.


Location: Gesling Stadium (the track/football field) on CMU Campus, start line/registration at the North corner (left side of bleacher side)
Date: June 14, 2023
Volunteer arrival time: 5:45pm
Participant arrival time: 6:00pm (all competitors MUST arrive at or before this time to check in)
Race start time: ~6:15pm (first die rolled followed by race start)


Participation in the random run is free for all conference attendees (and their family/friends as space permits). To help the race organizers, please fill out the race entry form before the day of the race. Filling out this form is not required, as we will still take walk-up entrants on race day, but we strongly encourage it, as logistics will be easier and quicker if more people pre-register.


Running is not a required component of the random run: you may jog, trot, or briskly walk the required distance instead. Alternatively, we welcome participation as a spectator or volunteer. If you would like to volunteer, simply arrive at the track by the volunteer arrival time listed above and say that you would like to volunteer, and you will be given a job to do. Jobs include registering entrants, recording finishing times and places, counting laps for runners, and so on. We definitely need volunteers, so we appreciate your help!


We will recognize winners in the following categories: Male Open, Male 40+, Male 60+, Female Open, Female 40+, Female 60+, Best Student-Advisor Pair, and Random Runner.

Let \(S\) be the set of race finishers. A student-advisor pair is \((s,a)\in S\times S\) such that \(a\) is, was, or expects to be the doctoral advisor of \(s\). The score of a student-advisor pair is the finishing position of \(s\) plus the finishing position of \(a\). A best student-advisor pair is a student-advisor pair with minimal score. Note that this definition does not require \(s\) to be a current student: if both finish the race, (Prasad Tetali, Joel Spencer) would be a valid student-advisor pair. To assist us in this award, we ask entrants to list all individuals with whom they might form a student-advisor pair.

The random runner will be drawn uniformly at random from \(S\).


The random run has been held at all 20 previous RS&A conferences, starting when Paul Erdos rolled the dice in 1983.

The CS department here at CMU was so inspired by the random run that they created their own edition, ran annually since 2003, which you can read about at We thank them for some inspiration/help in organizing this year's race.

Previous RS&A Random Run results can be viewed at last year's Random Run page, and results will be posted HERE after the race.

For any questions, comments, or suggestions specific to this random run, please email Tolson Bell.