Friday, March 5, 2010

The Harvard Gazette on Professor Parkes, Electronic Commerce, and Operations Research

The Harvard Gazette has a wonderful article on Dr. David Parkes, whom I met while I was a Science Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard in 2005-2006, and have collaborated with since that magical year at Harvard.

The article in The Harvard Gazette discusses Parkes' work in electronic commerce, and his multidisciplinary interests, which include computer science and economics, as well as operations research! We hosted him in our Speaker Series in Operations Research / Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst a few springs ago. After his terrific talk (and delicious lunch at our University Club) he met with a group of our doctoral students. We discussed, among other topics, the course that he was to be teaching the next term in operations research (which I hear has been very successful).

It is terrific to see that Operations Research is becoming another one of his scholarly passions! It is also wonderful that Harvard realizes the importance of this subject, which is applicable to solving some of the most pressing problems today ranging from the optimization of transportation and logistics services, to health care delivery, emergency preparedness and security, and even humanitarian logistics, to name just a few!

While at Radcliffe, Professor Parkes, Dr. Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania in Italy, who was a Visiting Scholar at Radcliffe, and is also an operations researcher, and was working with me on dynamic networks, completed a paper. The paper, The Internet, Evolutionary Variational Inequalities, and the Time-Dependent Braess Paradox, was published in the journal, Computational Management Science 4: (2007) pp 355-375.

Professor Daniele is a Center Associate of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks that I direct. While at Harvard, she completed her book, Dynamic Networks, and I completed my book, Supply Chain Network Economics: Dynamics of Prices, Flows, and Profits, both published in the New Dimensions in Networks series, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Above is a photo of Parkes, Daniele, and me finishing up lunch at the Casablanca Restaurant in Harvard Square in Cambridge. Academics work up quite the appetite after discussing research and working. Cerebral activity can be quite aerobic, especially if you are trying out ideas and derivations on a blackboard (or whiteboard, as the case may be)! The other photo of Patrizia Daniele and me was taken at Putnam House in Radcliffe Yard, where we had side by side offices (perfect for our collaboration) and which was across the street from the American Repertory Theater on Brattle Street and a few buildings up from Casablanca.

Parkes and I also organized an Exploratory Seminar on Dynamic Networks at Radcliffe, about which I wrote last week in this blog. Photos from this seminar are available here.