Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Celebrating 15 Years of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

I received a stunning invitation in the mail yesterday, which brought back so many pleasant memories. The invitation was from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the invitation was for a celebration of  15 years since its founding and also 135 years of Radcliffe.

In 2005-2006, I spent a sabbatical at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and was one of 12 Science Fellows that year. I had an office in Putnam House on Brattle Street, one of my favorite streets in Cambridge, MA, because of its location next to Harvard Square and also its history. I loved working that year on my Supply Chain Network Economics book, talking with fellow residents of Putnam - an engineer, sister physicists, linguists, and a computer scientists, and a French mathematician (Pierrette and I still stay in touch). Radcliffe generously also supported two of my female collaborators that year for several months when they visited me.

I also so much enjoyed the lunches filled with conversation across disciplines because that year (and this is another aspect of the Radcliffe Institute experience that is so special) we had novelists, artists, historians, film-makers, a psychiatrist, and other trailblazers, among us. I also very much enjoyed the talks that the Fellows gave and the various formal and informal get-togethers around Harvard and Cambridge.

Radcliffe is very special and its Institute for Advanced Studies is a true gem of scholarship and collegiality.  ORMS Today featured my essay on that very special year - thank you, INFORMS, for the great support of your members! Dr Elane Chew, then of USC, followed in my footsteps, a few years after my Radcliffe year, and I believe that we are the only operations researchers to have been Science Fellows, thus far, and I hope that there will be many more!

Some of you may know that the present President of Harvard, who is also its first female President, Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, was the Founding Dean of the Radcliffe Institute and she was its Dean when I was there. Dr. Barbara Grosz, a renowned computer scientist, was the Science Dean then.
To mark 15 years of the Radcliffe Institute and 135 years of Radcliffe,  there will be a celebration on May 30, 2014.  Also, Drew Gilpin Faust will be receiving the 2014 Radcliffe Medal.

I RSVPed my regrets - I will be in Sweden during Radcliffe Day 2014 - but through this post I wanted to reflect and reminisce and also to thank Radcliffe and the Institute for its support of interdisciplinary scholars and its vision!

Wishing everyone at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study much continued intellectual discourse and discoveries and, again, thanks for such a great year and for the friendships made!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sustainable Supply Chains for Sustainable Cities, Earth Day, and Erice

Today is Earth Day on which we celebrate planet earth and the environment.

I have been hard at work on a presentation, Sustainable Supply Chains for Sustainable Cities, which I will be presenting at a fascinating workshop, which will take place in early May, at the Ettore Majorana Scientific Center in Erice, Sicily. I had been then before, back in 2006, and it was a fitting ending to not only my year as a Science Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard but also to the World Cup (Italy beat France and we were in Italy).

The title of the Workshop that I will be speaking at is given below.

47th Session
Erice, 11 –15 May 2014
Workshop on Energy, Cities, and the Control of Complex Systems.

I received the formal invitation from the Director and Chairman of the Ettore Majorana Scientific Center, Professor Antonino Zichichi. The workshop is organized by Professor Adlison Motter of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University,  and by Dr. Robert Schock, Center for Global Security Research, Energy Permanent Monitoring Panel, World Federation of Scientists:

The list of invited participants is below.

In my presentation I will present both a supply chain network design model with a focus on frequencies, which is in press in the journal Environment & Planning B and will discuss highlights of a model developed with Drs. Min Yu and Jonas Floden on sustainable supply chain network competition and game theory with frequencies of supply chain activities as strategic variables and product path flows. This paper was recently published in the journal Computational Management Science in a special issue devoted to Planet Earth.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Phishing is Like Fishing - A Fitting Finale to Our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series

Where has the academic year gone?

We are now in the final weeks of a very busy semester and yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting my colleague, Dr. Ryan Wirght, of the Operations & Information Management Department, in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series, which the students of this award-winning chapter, help me to organize.

This year we hosted 6 speakers, including Dr. Michael Fu of the Smith School at the University of Maryland, Dr. Les Servi of MITRE (both of whom I saw at the recent INFORMS Analytics Conference in Boston), as well as Dr. Mary Helander of IBM (who, coincidentally, was involved in helping to organize the same conference in terms of speaker selection), as well as Dr. Eric Gonzales, a recent great addition to the UMass Amherst faculty, who had been at Rutgers,and Dr. Adams Steven, another colleague of mine, who received hid PhD from the Smith School last year.

Yesterday, was the grand finale, since it was the last speaker of our academic year!

Dr. Wright's talk was on: “Towards a Behavioral Model of Online Deception Detection."

The audience consisted of students from the Isenberg School of Management and the College of Engineering as well as faculty. Dr. Wright began his lecture with an overview of the cybersecurity failures at both Target and Adobe and associated financial and reputational costs and took us on a journey of how to build a human firewall to combat such attacks. 

He shared with us his research, which is behavioral, and includes experiments (often with undergraduates as subjects),  and findings, published in top IS journals, on phishing and human susceptibility and vulnerability, along with effective response training, including mindfulness training. The insights garnered are fascinating. Needless to say, the audience had many questions, always a sign of an outstanding speaker and presentation. 

Top lesson:  be aware and think before you click on a "suspicious" link. Don't use technology mindlessly.

I took the following photos of  Dr. Wright lecturing yesterday and with some of the audience members. Given that it was a Friday, and Monday is Patriot's Day here is Massachusetts, which is a holiday, plus the day of the running of the Boston Marathon, we were so pleased that the talk attracted a standing room only audience.

And, yes, the second photo below, illustrated an analogy between phishing and fishing - think of that url as a "hook."

I always say, you have a great topic and speaker, you promote it appropriately, and we did, and they will come!

I have written tips on organizing a successful Speaker Series, which you can accessed here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Year of Blue and Gold

Today we marked the one year anniversary of the horrific Boston Marathon Bombings.

This day in western Massachusetts is filled with strong winds and torrential rains as though nature is crying, too, for the 3 lives lost, the over 260 injured, and for our community being transformed.

It is a year of blue and gold with Boston Strong becoming a symbol and mantra for resilience.

These are the colors of the Boston Marathon finish line
 the colors of One Fund Boston,
 and also the colors of Boston Strong.
A friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Alla Kammerdiner, who is Ukrainian, and who I saw last February at a conference at the University of Florida and whose session on cybersecurity I spoke at at the INFORMS Minneapolis Conference (and we were videotaped)., ran the Boston Marathon last year and I wrote about her experience on this blog.

I reached out to her this past week as the anniversary was approaching. She will be returning to Boston and will be running the 2014 Boston Marathon next Monday.

My first language is also Ukrainian and today's USAToday cover highlighted both the anniversary and the events in the country of my parents:
The Ukrainian flag is featured below and when I see the Boston blue and gold banners I am always reminded of Ukraine and the will of its people to be free despite what seem to be insurmountable challenges. The blue stands for the blue of the sky and the gold for the color of the fields of grain since, for many years, Ukraine was known as the breadbasket of Europe.
And this year, as in the two previous years, whenever I return to the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, where I am a Visiting Professor of Operations Management,  I am surrounded by blue and gold with the Swedish flag unfurled on many stately occasions and even the trolley flying what, to me, looks like the Ukrainian flag.
For all those out there, never give up your dreams of freedom and thanks for all the acts of courage and integrity!

Latest Newsletter from the Supernetwork Center is Now Online

Spring has arrived in New England with warm temperatures and the snow has finally melted.

It has been a very busy couple of months at the Supernetwork Center at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.

It is a privilege to serve as the Center's Director and to work with such great students and colleagues.

The latest edition of The Supernetwork Sentinel is now out and it is filled with news about various events, including conferences, accolades, upcoming activities,  and highlights of our latest research and teaching activities.
The full newsletter can be downloaded here. 

Thanks for the wonderful support from around the world. Working with the Supernetwork Team pushes research, teaching, and service to new heights because of great teamwork and thee associated synergy.

The next edition of The Supernetwork Sentinel will be out in the summer.

For all editions of our newsletter please visit the newsletter page on the Supernetwork Center website.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Photos from Emergency Sheltering Exercise and the Best of Town and Gown

Yesterday, several students from the Isenberg School of Management  spent the late afternoon with me at the Mullins Center in Amherst where an emergency sheltering exercise was being conducted involving hundreds of volunteers, including many students (kudos to nursing and others), and multiple organizations such as UMass Amherst and the Medical Reserve Corps of Hampshire County.

Some of my students are overnighting there on cots to learn from the experience and since they work as interns in emergency preparedness or have been fire fighters. We were especially interested in this well-timed major emergency preparedness exercise since I am teaching a course this semester at the Isenberg School on Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare.  Mr. Jeff Hescock, who was one of five guest lecturers in my class, and who is the Director of  UMass  Emergency Management and Business Continuity was one of the leaders of this fascinating sheltering exercise.

The Mullins Center is usually the venue for basketball and hockey games as well as major entertainment events and to see it transformed into a shelter that could serve as a refuge after a natural disaster, such as a tornado or winter storm (and we have had our share of these as I have written about many times on this blog and in various OpEds).

Two of my students and I, along with town officials, such as our Town Manager, John Musante, and our Fire Chief (it was great to see them both and my students were impressed), received a grand tour from an Amherst Public health official who was wonderful.
The photos that I took at this special community event that I have posted here illustrate the scope of planning involved. The setup began at 1PM with the shelter opening at 3PM to simulate a real-life sheltering response to a natural disaster. Since those who are being sheltered become a society for a time period safety and rules are important.
There were registration desks upon entry and those who had volunteered to be "victims" had tags given to them describing their injuries which were made to look quite authentic.

The Mullins Center had an area with cots, an area for dining, and the menu looked quite great.

Since showers are located there, it is an excellent facility for an emergency shelter and it has such a large space. There were rooms for additional medical treatment and for emotional support. We also saw an ambulance inside with a very realistic victim lying on a stretcher which added to us seeing the scale and magnitude of sheltering (and planning involved),

This emergency sheltering exercise involved not only adults but also children as well as animals and the attention to detail was truly remarkable.  Children had their own area which was supplied with books, activities, and toys.

Cats were separated from dogs, who were in crates and there was an exercise area for the latter and a radio was playing for the former. We were escorted by Ms. Carol Hepburn, who is Amherst's Animal Control Officer and a legend. She used to visit our neighborhood quite often back in the day.
There was also an area for exotic animals including the dragon in the above photo. An exercise area for animals was constructed outside of the Mullins Center featured in the photo below.

We spoke with a variety of the volunteers from organizations such as the Red Cross and the Medical Reserve Corps as well as the animal care individuals who came with their trucks from central MA and from the Berkshire area.

There were even dogs to assist those who needed emotional assistance and reassurance. The adorable, huge Newfoundlander came with his owner and handler from Rhode Island.

 I look forward to hearing from a student later today on how the overnight experience went. He had packed up a big sleeping bag with a pillow and snacks and was prepared. The Medical Reserve Corps also had, for distribution, backpacks with First Aid kits, flashlights and a formd in a folder on which one could write critical information to keep handy.

I congratulate all involved on this very important exercise which demonstrates the best of town and gown cooperation!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Design and Analysis of a Content-oriented Internet

Yesterday,  I marched down the hill from the Isenberg School of Management with my three doctoral students to attend the Distinguished Faculty Lecture given by Professor James Kurose of the Computer Science Department at UMass Amherst.

The title of his lecture, which was given in the Massachusetts Room of the Mullins Center to a standing room audience, was "Design and Analysis of a Content-oriented Internet."

Professor Kurose was introduced by Provost James Staros and Dean Steven Goodwin and our Chancellor, Dr. Subbaswamy,  was in attendance as well as our VCRE Mike Malone.

Professor Kurose began his lecture by saying that he is "A Teacher" and provided us with an overview of the major developments in communications from the telephone to packet switching to the Internet. He emphasized that the Internet is a Network of Networks and, since I founded and direct the Supernetwork Center at UMass,  I liked hearing this very much. Supernetworks are networks of networks and our research at the center has advanced both methodologies and the modeling and solution of applications ranging from multimodal transportation networks to complex supply chains and to now envisioning a Future Internet Architecture (FIA), which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and which we are working on with Co-PIs at multiple universities.  Our FIA is known as ChoiceNet.

Professor Kurose emphasized that "Content is King" and stated that Cisco is predicting that, by 2017, 80-90% of the Internet traffic will be for videos, TV streaming, peer to peer, etc. He noted that consumers don't care where the content comes from as long as we get it.

Everything used to be wired but now there are more wireless devices than wired ones connected to the Internet. There are also millions of access networks - for example, at UMass we would first be connected to that network.

He also spoke about the challenges that Netflix faces and that researchers in the Computer Science Department are working on. Some of my students and I had had a preview of this topic just the day before in my Management Science doctoral seminar on Variational Inequalities, Networks, and Game Theory, since a Computer Science professor and one of his doctoral students have been sitting in this course of mine and it has been terrific to have them. We had heard the day before about how Netflix is unsure of where to position movies (store them) and makes multiple copies in multiple locations - this may reduce the speed of delivery and also add to network congestion plus storage costs - topics I have spoken about.

Afterwards there were great questions, even from our Chancellor - not surprising since he is a physicist!

I commented that the Netflix problem reminded me of a problem in humanitarian logistics (another course that I am teaching this semester) in terms of the positioninng of supplies and also mentioned our FIA project ChoiceNet, which will allow consumers to select not only content but the mode of delivery which could include less congested paths with consumers willing to pay for such enhanced services as we say  "pay with their wallets."

Indeed, in our ChoiceNet project, which we already have multiple papers on, we draw comparisons with supply chain networks and freight delivery systems and recognize the importance of network economics, game theory, and operations research. Professor Kurose, after my comments, did note that I was in OR and mentioned  "facility location." I have a good idea as to how to model the Netflix problem and solve it. He also mentioned that 2 out of the 5 NSF FIA [projects had UMass Amherst contributors, which is wonderful!

After his fabulous talk - clear why he has received multiple teaching awards research recognitions, I took the photo below of him with my doctoral students.

We essentially closed up the reception since there were so many interesting faculty and graduate students to talk to from Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and even Political Science!

Professor Kurose  has been at UMass Amherst for 30 years and over the next 30 we can continue to ask him many questions that his talk inspired.

I remember, back in 2005, sharing the stage with him at the Bowker Auditorium, when both of us were amongst the 12 faculty being recognized with a new award, which is now given annually - the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity.

Great to have the opportunity for my doctoral students in Management Science to meet him yesterday!