Thursday, May 28, 2009

Plenary talk, Net2009, Rome, and the European Soccer Championship

This morning I gave my plenary talk on supply chain network oligopolies, coalitions, and the merger paradox at the NET2009 conference at La Sapienza in Rome, Italy. I managed to find the conference room in which I was speaking due to a nice custodian who understood sufficient English and knew where the conference was taking place. The audience consisted of physicists (primarily, judging from the show of hands), operations researchers and applied mathematicians, economists, computer scientists, and a few engineers. The talks have been excellent as have been the questions. The methodologies and models of networks differ in these fields and it is fascinating to see common themes of interest and application.

I just finished eating an exquisite lunch of sauteed porcini mushrooms with pasta seasoned with parmesan cheese and parsley, grilled fish, salad, and fruit. Luckily, there is time for a short siesta since the talks will continue until around 6PM today.

One of the conference participants is from Barcelona and he showed me his Barcelona and Manchester United banner from the European soccer final, which took place in Rome yesterday. I took a photo of the banner and will post photos after my return to the US. By the way, Barcelona beat Manchester 2 to 0. Now I understand why there were so many British as well as Spaniards yesterday in Rome wearing all sorts of soccer paraphernalia. Supposedly, 50,000 fans descended on Rome to cheer the teams and all the hotels were booked so many soccer fans have been camping out wherever they can find a spot.

La Sapienza, the university that is hosting the NET2009 conference, is a world-renowned university and this is my first time speaking at this university. Interestingly, I am the only speaker from the United States!