Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Electric Power Supply Chains and Grit

My co-author, Dr. Zugang "Leo" Liu, and I are very pleased that our paper on electric power supply chains and New England is now officially published and is available online in the journal, Naval Research Logistics; see: NRL. This paper required several revisions and even in its original format was a huge amount of work from the conceptualization of the large-scale mathematical model, the collection of the data, the asking of interesting and relevant questions, the coding of the algorithm(s) used to solve the model -- not to mention the actual writing of the paper, the design and drawing of the figures, including the networks! But the reward for the stamina and endurance needed to finish the paper, revise it according to the anonymous reviewers' and editors' suggestions, is to see it in print. In fact, it already is being cited internationally since it is the first general electric power supply chain network model with fuel markets and data for a large region and the methodology that we use for formulation and analysis is very cool, too -- that of variational inequalities. You can always read up on my Network Economics book to get some background. Our NRL paper can be used as the baseline for the investigation of not only tradable pollution permits (a very hot topic now) but also serve as a model on which smart grid issues can be formulated and studied.

Doing this project required true grit, and, just in time, the Boston Globe has a marvelous article on what it takes to be successful -- Grit! I think that you will enjoy reading the article as much as I did and it shows that you just have to stick to what you love and to work very hard at it.

However, when it comes to publishing, some highly original research papers can be and have been rejected. This topic alone we can write numerous blog posts on so I will just leave you with the following. You may have heard of a new journal recently founded called Rejecta Mathematica, which considers submissions of papers previously rejected elsewhere. It was founded by graduate students who decided to take action. Indeed, The Economist recently noted that Paul Lauterbur, the father of magnetic resonance imaging, had his seminal paper rejected when he first submitted it to Nature. He later received the Nobel prize for this work. Peter Higgs, the predictor of physics' missing boson, faced a similar experience with the journal Physics Letters (and he is expected to win the Nobel prize). So, the moral of the story is, hard work pays off and don't give up if you believe in your work!