Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Congrats to the ChoiceNet Future Internet Architecture Team on the Success of their Tutorial at GEC 21!

Today, I held a review for the midterm exam for students in my Logistics & Transportation class  plus I had office hours, so I could not take part in the GEC21 Conference at the University of Indiana.at which, as I wrote in my blogpost yesterday, our ChoiceNet project team was presenting a two part tutorial.

ChoiceNet is our NSF Future Internet Architecture (FIA) project, which we have been working on for several years now. Our goal in ChoiceNet is to introduce an economy plane for the Internet.

The tutorial is now over with and Professor Tilman Wolf of UMass Amherst, with whom I and our colleagues at the University of Kentucky, NCState, and UNC, along with our doctoral students, have been working with, emailed the photos below from the tutorial. There were 53 in attendance.

The two-part tutorial, including the slides can be accessed here and here.

Those on our team who were present at the tutorial are featured below.

Below is the Acknowledgments page from the tutorial:
And for those of you who may be wondering where are the female faces, two of my doctoral students, who are working with me on the project, Sara Saberi and Dong "Michelle" Li are female, but they were busy at UMass Amherst so could not attend the tutorial sessions. We provided feedback on the second part over the summer since the focus there was on the network economics and payments. We have several models of competition in quality and in prices for the FIA, which have been pubslished in a series of our papers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

ChoiceNet at Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) Engineering Conference (GEC21)

Today,  the GENI Engineering Conference 21  (GEC21) begins at Indiana University and, tomorrow afternoon, there will be a two part tutorial on our National Science Foundation (NSF) project ChoiceNet.    

More details on the tutorial can be found here and here. My UMass ciolleague, Professor Tilman Wolf,  and University of Kentucky colleague, Professor Jim Griffioen,  will be conducting the tutorial along with two doctoral students.

The full schedule can be accessed here.

GENI, also known as the Global Environment for Network Innovations, provides a virtual laboratory for networking and distributed systems research and education. It is well suited for exploring networks at scale, thereby promoting innovations in network science, security, services and applications.
ChoiceNet is our project, funded by NSF under the grant: Network Innovation Through Choice. UMass Amherst is the lead on this multiunveisrity project with Professor Tilman Wolf of the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering as the PI and me as the Co-PI, along with colleagues from the University of Kentucky, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina. ChoiceNet is one of five NSF Future Internet Architecture projects.

Professor Wolf prepared this page on our ChoiceNet project, which will continue to be updated.

Specifically, we seek to introduce an Economy plane into the Internet.


The goal of ChoiceNet is to enable choices and the associated economic relationships between entities in the network. ChoiceNet makes it possible for network service providers to compete for customers and be rewarded for quality and innovation. In today’s network, money enters the network ecosystem only around the edges: consumers (individuals or enterprises) pay access providers for Internet service. Most access providers, in turn, pay other ISPs to carry their traffic to/from the rest of the Internet. Indeed, most end-to-end traffic in the Internet traverses at least three distinct service

Thus, in today’s Internet (i) no single provider controls all end-to-end paths; (ii) money flow between providers is outside the architecture and by necessity changes slowly; and (iii) traffic flow is constrained at the granularity of providers to follow the money flow. The result is that transit providers have neither means nor incentive to compete via new service offerings, and consumers have essentially no control over the service they receive or its quality. A central thesis of ChoiceNet is that enabling money flow to follow traffic flow (instead of vice versa), coupled with greater support for choice among end-users, should lead to increased provider competition and more innovation.

ChoiceNet’s economy plane aims to give assurances to providers that they can compete for customers and be compensated for the services they render. At the same time, ChoiceNet provides users with the ability to select from a set of offerings and combine them to form complex services, thereby separating services that are currently entangled in the current Internet. Key to such an architecture is the ability to market services and then form or dissolve business relationships on (potentially small) time scales. Moreover, ChoiceNet must enable providers (and consumers) to prove (or verify) that the contracted service was rendered as promised.

I have two doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management conducting research on ChoiceNet: Sara Saberi and Dong "Michelle" Li. We are specifically working on the game theory and network economics aspects and have already published a series of papers, including:
  • Anna Nagurney, Dong Li, Tilman Wolf, and Sara Saberi. A network economic game theory model of a service-oriented internet with choices and quality competition. NETNOMICS: Economic Research and Electronic Networking, 14(1–2):1–25, November 2013. (Notable Article in Computing in 2013 by ACM Computing Reviews) DOI
  • Anna Nagurney and Tilman Wolf. A Cournot-Nash-Bertrand game theory model of a service-oriented internet with price and quality competition among network transport providers. Computational Management Science, 11(4), pages 475-502. DOI
  • Sara Saberi, Anna Nagurney, Tilman Wolf, A network economic game theory model of s service-oriented Internet with price and quality competition in both content and network provision. Service Science, 6(4), December 2014, pages 1-24.
I hope that everyone at GEC21 has a rewarding conference!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Always a Favorite Event - Tune-Up for the INFORMS Conference with the UMass Student Chapter

As the Faculty Advisor to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, I always enjoy helping students out with the planning of events and attending them from speakers that we host and a variety of panels (both research and teaching),   as well as social events, such as our 10th Anniversary party two weeks ago.

Also, to give our doctoral students a pleasant setting in which to practice the talks that they will be giving at the Annual INFORMS Conference, we host the annual Tune-Up event. This year the conference takes place in San Francisco in early November.

The students prepared the nice poster above for this year's tune-up, which will take place at the Isenberg School of Management on Friday, October 31, 2014, from 2-4PM in Room 112. Special thanks to this year's Chapter President, Michael Prokle, for getting all the information together and to the Chapter Secretaries: Heng Chen and Kayla Monahan, for putting the poster together!

There will be 4 doctoral students from the Isenberg School in Management Science (Dong "Michelle" Li, Tulay Varol Flamand, Sara Saberi, and Heng Chen) presenting and two from the College of Engineering, who are conecntrating in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (Joanne Oh and Olaitan Olaleye). I am the dissertation advisor for Michelle and Sara. Professor Ahmed Ghoniem is the advisor of Tulay and Professor Senay Solak is the advisor of Heng. Professor Hari Balasubramanian is advising Joanne Oh and Professor Erin Baker - Olaita.

The topics of these 6 talks alone demonstrate the breadth and depth of research in OR/MS, so do join us if you can!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Meet an Executive in the Apparel Industry

The 2014 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, Professor Jean Tirole, said recently in an interview in the The Upshot column, in The New York Times: There’s no easy line in summarizing my contribution and the contribution of my colleagues. It is industry-specific. The way you regulate payment cards has nothing to do with the way that you regulate intellectual property or railroads. There are lots of idiosyncratic factors. That’s what makes it all so interesting. It’s very rich. It requires some understanding of how an industry works. And then the reasoning is very much based on game theory.

His words to me could be directly translated to why I find supply chains so fascinating and interesting to work on - the idiosyncratic characteristics of  supply chains in different industries, whether in high tech, food, pharmaceuticals, or even fashion! And, yes, we use game theory in our competitive supply chain network models.

Some of our most recent work, with a focus on perishable product supply chains, including blood supply chains and medical nuclear ones, we describe in our book, Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products., in which we also have a chapter on fast fashion supply chains. 

Interestingly, we have Professor T.M. "Jason" Choi of Hong Kong to thank for inspiring us to work on fashion / apparel supply chains and, to-date, we have written 3 papers on the topic, with the most recent one being with my great colleague, Professor Jonas Floden, of the University of Gothenburg, and a former doctoral student, Professor Min Yu of the University of Portland: Fashion Supply Chain Network Competition with Ecolabelling, Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Jonas Floden, in press in Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management: From Sourcing to Retailing, T.-M. Choi and T.C.E. Cheng, Editors, Springer. 

I very much enjoyed working on this paper and would walk for miles in the beautiful city of Gothenburg stopping into a variety of stores from H&M and Zara and several with eco-labelled fashion products.

So, when an opportunity came to help host Mr. Marc Schneider of PVH, who is both an executive and an alum of the Isenberg School, I had to say "yes!" He had come to speak with us about 3 years ago and it was a terrific experience.

Mr. Schneider will be speaking at the Isenberg School of Friday, November 7, 2014. The students of the UMass Amhest INFORMS Student Chapter prepared the nice poster below.

I hope that you can join us.
After the event, many of us will be packing up and flying to the INFORMS conference in San Francisco!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Which Suppliers Really Matter to Your Supply Chain Performance?

We have certainly experienced a long list of supplier failures, whether from natural disasters, quality shortcomings (with the automotive industry being a notable example, as well as compounding pharmacies),  or even due to the Ebola healthcare and humanitarian logistics crisis, with great demand for the timely delivery of critical needs supplies for both healthcare providers and patients being unmet, not to mention the healthcare providers themselves in the form of human supply chains.

With numerous supply chains, from high tech products, to pharmaceuticals, to even food, being increasingly complex in terms of both the network topology, the number of decision-makers,  as well as the distances involved, it is high time for performance metrics and ranking tools to enable the identification of which suppliers as well as the components that they provide matter not only to the full supply chain but also to your individual firm.

First, one has to realize that this is the Era of the Supply Chain Network Economy and tools that just handle one supplier - one manufacturer are completely out-of-date. One has to be able to capture the interrelationships among suppliers, who are profit-maximizing, as well as the firms that they supply, who in turn, compete with other firms.

In our most recent paper: Supply Chain Performance Assessment and Supplier and Component Importance Identification in a General Competitive Multitiered Supply Chain Network Model, Dong Li and Anna Nagurney, that I co-authored with one of my doctoral students, who has done great work on supply chain network competition and quality, we provide a performance assessment metric for the full supply chain, and for that of an individual firm.  The metric quantifies the efficiency of the supply chain or firm, respectively, and also allows for the identification and ranking of the importance of suppliers as well as the components of suppliers with respect to the full supply chain or individual firm. The firms are differentiated by brands and our general multitiered competitive supply chain network equilibrium model with suppliers and firms includes capacities and constraints to capture the production activities. Firms may have a certain amount of capability to produce components in-house, depending on their capacities.

The supply chain network performance measure is inspired by our work on network performance assessment in a variety of network systems ranging from transportation to the Internet (see Nagurney and Qiang (2009) and the references therein) as well as in supply chains (cf. Qiang, Nagurney, and Dong (2009), and Qiang and Nagurney (2012)) but with the addition of the supplier tier, which is the focus in our paper.

Suppliers in supply chains are even vital to cybersecurity and the above graphic taken from our paper was part of the presentation that I gave last month at the Sloan School at MIT as part of the Advanced Cyber Security Workshop that I co-organized with several Isenberg School colleagues and a College of Engineering one.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Student and Faculty Accolades in the Beautiful Isenberg School of Management Atrium

In just over a week, we will be memoralizing the late Mr. Gene Isenberg, after whom our School of Management at UMass Amherst is named, and recognizing also his wife, Ronnie, and their family. 

We received the nice invitation via email recently.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and Dean Mark A. Fuller cordially invite you to

 A Tribute to Gene M. Isenberg in recognition of the life of Mr. Isenberg and the numerous contributions he, Ronnie and their family have made to the Isenberg School and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Monday, October 20, 2014 at 2:30pm
Flavin Auditorium, Isenberg School of Management
Reception to follow in the Isenberg Atrium

Our lovely school atrium has been undergoing some spiffing up for the event and the display cases have been updated. 

I was thrilled to see student awards received by student chapters in one of the display cases, including two of the most recent Magna Cum Laude Award plaques that the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter received in the past two years. Just last Friday, we celebrated the chapter's 10th anniversary
Also, on the other side of the entranceway, it was very special to see our latest new endowed professor, Dr. Hossein Kazemi of Finance recognized, another colleague in Management, Dr. Chuck Manz, the Nirenberg Professor, as well as Dr. Bing Liang of Finance, and even yours truly, with my INFORMS Fellow plaque, awarded in 2013, and the Walter Isard Award, given in 2012.
The school is getting ready for the tribute - the Isenbergs through their philanthropy have made a huge impact on our students, faculty, staff, and infrastructure and we thank them profusely!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Recognizing Female Talent in Tech, Welcome to the 21st Century, Mr. Nadella of Microsoft

The news came to me this morning from my husband who had received it in his ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) daily email newsletter and he was shocked.

Yesterday, at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, Satya Nadella, the Chief Executive of Microsoft,  suggested that women who do not ask for more money from their employers would be rewarded in the long run when their good work was recognized.

The New York Times had a great article on this "misspeaking"  complete with a video in which Dr. Maria Klawe, the President of Harvey Mudd College, and former Dean of Engineering at Princeton, completely disagrees with him. I have written about Dr. Klawe, since I am a big fan of hers and she has been very innovative in computing education and in breaking down barriers.

The Twittersphere lit up with Nadella's telling women not to ask for a raise but to wait for good karma - I kid you not! 

We are, last time that I checked, living in the 21st century, in which Lean In has become the mantra, Larry Summers is no longer President of Harvard University, but Drew Gilpin Faust is and she was the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study when I was a Science Fellow there 2005-2006.  Coincidentally, in the same Times article, Claudia Goldin, who was also a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard my year,  is quoted.

Female talent in tech needs to be recognized and rewarded and having the right salary is one clear way in which to do this. Dr. Klawe regrets not speaking up when negotiating for her offer from Princeton and even more recently from Harvey Mudd College.

Another way to recognize females is through professional society awards.

For example, WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences),  a forum of INFORMS, started the WORMS Award 9 years ago.  The Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS celebrates and recognizes a person who has contributed significantly to the advancement and recognition of women in the field of Operations Research and the Management Sciences (OR/MS).

Several of the WORMS Award recipients have also been  elected  INFORMS Fellows: Cynthia Barnhart of MIT, Brenda Dietrich of IBM, Kathy Stecke of UT Dallas, yours truly in 2013, and, this year, we have two out of the twelve 2014 INFORMS Fellows being female and also previous WORMS Award winners: Dr. Candi Yano of UC Berkeley and Dr. Radhika Kulkarni of SAS. WORMS has had outstanding officers, including Laura McLay, now at the University of Wisconsin Madison, who served as President, and has done great work in advocating for female tech professionals - thanks!

Perhaps Nadella should come to the INFORMS Conference in San Francisco and meet some truly successful, wonderful female and male pioneers in tech.

Nadella might learn something from Ed Lazowska, who is a Brown University alum, as am I. In an article in USA Today it was stated:  Hiring women and minorities isn't about window dressing. It actually makes it a better and more profitable company, says Ed Lazowska, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington-Seattle. "Engineering (particularly of software) is a hugely creative endeavor. Greater diversity — more points of view — yields a better result," he said.

Indeed, and they should be fairly compensated!