Friday, May 1, 2009

New Media, Supernetworks, and Giving my UCDavis Talk Breezing in from Amherst

In 2005, I opened up the Mesh Forum conference in Chicago, which was organized by Shannon Clark, with my lecture on Networks -- the Science that Spans Disciplines. The talk was recorded and is available for downloading and has been used in courses at, among other universities, Duke University, and now at New York University. I stumbled upon the Spring 2009 course at NYU on New Media that is using my Mesh Forum lecture, complete with slides, as Lecture 13 in the course syllabus and you can read the comments on this material here. Nice to see other universities and instructors making use of material that I have researched also as Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks.

Speaking of "New Media," I just completed giving a 90 minute lecture on global supply chain network vulnerabilities and synergies and what we can learn from 50 years of research in transportation that was streamed live to the University of California Davis. We used "breeze" technology from Room G12 in the Isenberg School of Management with three of my doctoral students providing me with a direct face-to-face audience. My hosts in California, Professors Mokhtarian and Fan, helped to check out the technology before my presentation and I had a small video clip of my talking head and my presentation on the computer monitor in front of me. This was definitely a new experience for me and we had a minor technical disruption midway, which resulted in me going over several of the preceding slides. Overall the experience was definitely interesting and with the growing number of swine flu cases (documented as well as suspected) this approach to delivering a talk definitely minimized the risk. Shortly before my talk, the news broke that a United flight from Munich to Dulles was diverted to Boston Logan airport becaise a female on the plane was exhibiting flu symptoms!

In my lecture today, I noted the impacts of automobile manufacturers' declining sales on shortages of supplies in pharmaceutical supply chains as well as the shortages of chassis negatively impacting the manufacture of ambulances. Here we see a direct example of supply chain versus supply chain competition and associated disruptions impacting industries that one would think are far -afield from one another! The lecture was videotaped and it will be interesting to see what the ultimate production looks like especially since I noted the delays in my voice streaming into the computer as well as delays in the projection of my slides.

I thank the UCDavis Professors Mokhtarian and Fan for being my virtual hosts for my lecture during this time of uncertainty surrounding travel because of the swine flu.