Thursday, August 26, 2010

News on the Supernetworks Center at the Isenberg School

With Fall around the corner, and students starting to arrive at colleges around the country, the 2010-2011 academic year will soon begin. There is always a lot of excitement and anticipation from the new and returning students, their families, as well as from the professors who will be teaching the courses that the students will be taking.

A new academic year brings new challenges, opportunities, experiences and adventures, friendships, and discoveries.

As Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, I edit the Supernetwork Sentinel, which is our newsletter, and which gets published in Fall, Spring, and Summer editions.

The Fall 2010 Supernetwork Sentinel is now online and I hope that you enjoy reading about our professional activities that, this past summer alone, took us to Argentina, China, Austria, and Ukraine! The research that the Center Associates are involved in include such timely topics as supply chain network design of critical needs products from pharmaceuticals to vaccines to sustainable supply chains and even fashion supply chain management (in which time vs. cost is also a big issue)!

We study network fragility and vulnerability in transportation, logistics (including humanitarian operations), the Internet, electric power and energy networks, and even in finance and model how human behavior affects such systems. We also construct metrics that can assess the performance of networks and identify potential synergies with applications as varied as corporate mergers and acquisitions and the teaming of organizations for disaster relief. We quantify, through advanced analytics, cooperative vs. competitive behavior and identify and explain where paradoxes such as the Braess paradox can (and cannot) occur.

Since supernetworks are networks of networks, their applications are very exciting and vast!

The methodologies that our researchers use to capture essential components of complex networks include: game theory, network optimization, nonlinear programming, multicriteria decision-making, risk management, variational inequalities, and projected dynamical systems.

We have been very busy this summer and are looking forward to a very special, productive, and fascinating new academic year!

All of our newsletters can be accessed here.