Group evolution patterns in running races

Y. Diez, M. Fort, M. Korman, J. A. Sellarès

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We address the problem of tracking and detecting interactions between the different groups of runners that form during a race. In athletic races control points are set to monitor the progress of athletes over the course. Intuitively, a group is a sufficiently large set of athletes that cross a control point together. After adapting an existing definition of group to our setting we go on to study two types of group evolution patterns. The primary focus of this work are evolution patterns, i.e. the transformation and interaction of groups of athletes between two consecutive control points. We provide an accurate geometric model of the following evolution patterns: survives, appears, disappears, expands, shrinks, merges, splits, coheres and disbands, and present algorithms to efficiently compute these patterns. Next, based on the algorithms introduced for identifying evolution patterns, algorithms to detect long-term patterns are introduced. These patterns track global properties over several control points: surviving, traceable forward, traceable backward and related forward and backward. Experimental evaluation of the algorithms provided is presented using real and synthetic data. Using the data currently available, our experiments show how our algorithms can provide valuable insight into how running races develop. Moreover, we also show how, even if dense (synthetic) data is considered, our algorithms are also able to process it in real time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-39
Number of pages20
JournalInformation Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr


  • Computer science
  • Evolution patterns
  • Groups in running races
  • Information system
  • Long-term patterns
  • Running race analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Artificial Intelligence


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