Thursday, November 29, 2012

Congrats to Dr. Hanlon -- The New President of Dartmouth

Several Ivy League universities have been searching for Presidents this year and Dartmouth just announced that its 18th President will be a Dartmouth alum, Dr. Philip J. Hanlon, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1977 and then went on to get a PhD at CalTech.

But what I find especially exciting is that he is a mathematician and, as Provost of the University of Michigan, has been teaching freshman calculus! He hopes to also teach some math courses as President of Dartmouth, which is terrific and time will tell, and his schedule, whether he will be able to pull this off.

Plus, his PhD advisor at CalTech was a female, Dr. Olga Taussky-Todd, as you can see from his cv!

The New York Times has a nice photo and article on Dr. Hanlon.

I remember taking calculus for two semesters as a freshman at Brown University and I was taught by Professor Joseph LaSalle, who was one of the founders of dynamical systems. I would regularly visit him during his office hours to chat and together we would model how his coffee would get cold, among other problems. I'll never forget having one of the most famous applied mathematicians of his time teaching me calculus and I hope that it was worth it since I ended up getting a PhD in Applied Math from Brown and my love of math modeling and computing is in part due to my great freshman calculus teacher.

Coincidentally, I used one of Taussky-Todd's theorems in my PhD dissertation since I needed one of her results to prove some of my theorems!

I wish Dr. Hanlon much luck in his new position. Dartmouth has made a terrific choice.

The suspense continues, though. I wonder who will be the next President of Princeton University?

The Myths and Facts of How to Get a Tenure-Track Job and How to Get Tenure

We  are pleased to announce a guest speaker, Dr. Jose M. Cruz. He will be visiting us on Friday, December 7th, 2012.  Dr. Cruz is an Isenberg PhD alumnus, class of 2004, and also holds an MBA from the Isenberg School. He has a total of 5 UMass Amherst degrees! His talk is being hosted by the award-winning UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter that I have served as a Faculty Advisor of for 8 years.

Dr. Jose M. Cruz is an Associate Professor and an Ackerman Scholar in Operations and Information Management, and the Director of the Masters of Science in Business Analytics and Project Management Program at the School of Business at the University of Connecticut. His research is multidisciplinary and combines his background and interests in management science, engineering, computer systems, and applied mathematics. His general area is complex decision-making on network systems with a specific focus on global issues. He is especially interested in international financial networks with intermediariation and electronic transactions, global supply chain networks, corporate social responsibility, and risk management. The methodological tools that he utilizes are: variational inequalities, dynamical systems, network theory, multicriteria decision-making, game theory, and optimization. He has published in many journals, including the European Journal of Operational Research, Naval Research Logistics, and Quantitative Finance. He is the recipient of several awards including UConn's School of Business' Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Title of the Presentation: The myths and facts of how to get a tenure-track job and how to get tenure.


Specific information on the talk as to time and location can be found on the nice poster featured above, which was prepared by the students. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Building Your Networks Before Promotion and Tenure

This past year I was a very proud "Academic Mom" since not only did one of my doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management receive her PhD and assume an Assistant Professor position (Dr. Min Yu is now at the Pamplin School of Business at the University of Portland in Oregon) but 3 former doctoral students received promotion and tenure -- Dr. Jose M. Cruz is now an Associate Professor at the School of Business at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and also an Ackerman Scholar, Dr. Fuminori Toyasaki is an Associate Professor in the School of Administrative Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada, and Dr. Ke "Grace" Ke is an Associate Professor at the College of Business at Central Washington Ellensburg. 

Also, this year, another doctoral student of mine is on the job market and another former one is preparing his dossier for his promotion and tenure case. So, I have a lot of experience both placing doctoral students and also seeing them get promotions and tenure, which is wonderful! Tenure, for the non-academic readers, means that one has a job for life (unless there are some very rare circumstances or one gets into real trouble).

In academia, if one is in a "tenure-track" position and an Assistant Professor, one, typically, comes up for promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in the sixth year. The packet that one prepares has to include research contributions, teaching contributions, and also, usually, service ones.

When it comes to the evaluation of research, outside letters are solicited from those who are deemed knowledgeable to be able to comment on the candidate's research. The person coming up for promotion and tenure is usually asked for a list of names and contact information and then other names are decided upon by the chairman and personnel committee (there may be variants of this process, but this is, more or less, the typical process).

The chairman may request as many as 8-10 names from the candidate.

Now, certain colleges and universities have quite stringent restrictions as to who may be on the list. This is why it is important to start building one's networks shortly after receiving the PhD and assuming the tenure-track Assistant Professor position.

Advisors (dissertation chairs) often are not allowed as outside letter writers and neither are your collaborators or often students who had the same advisor as you did. Oftentimes, one cannot have another faculty member as a letter writer from the same university and college system.  Of course, who knows you the best -- those that you have worked closely with (such as your dissertation advisor) and those that you have co-authored papers with (usually members of your doctoral committee also are not appropriate letter writers).

It is important that when you get asked to present such a list that you are not left with an "empty feasible set," meaning that you cannot think of anyone who would be willing to write a letter for you (and, hopefully, the letters will be positive). Usually, the letter writers have to be tenured Associate Professors, if not Full Professors. so they are senior to you. Some colleges and universities do not allow letters from industry (which I find strange since some outstanding research can be done in corporations and if you are a faculty member at a business school having impact in business to me is a plus).

So how does one begin to build a network of individuals that might be willing to write letters for you once it is time for promotion and tenure?  Every year I get asked to write such letters and enjoy doing the evaluations.

Clearly, if you have published regularly in a journal and have also refereed and done a great job, then having an Editor or Associate Editor of a journal that is familiar with your work as a possible letter writer is  an excellent possibility. Also, if you have contributed to edited volumes of books or special issues of a journal, then the cognizant Editor may be willing to write a letter for you.  Also, those whose work you cite in your papers and who know you and your work are also natural ones to evaluate your research. Now,  another challenge is that some schools forbid you to contact the prospective letter writers beforehand so you should have sufficient "good will" that when you suggest a name that person will not only know you but will be an enthusiastic letter writer for you.

It is important to be active not only in writing papers and getting them published but also in talking about your work at conferences and seminars. Be willing to organize sessions at conferences and do speak to people at conferences so that they become familiar with your work. Do let others know about your research and papers and do your best in being visible in a positive way, of course.

To all those undergoing promotion & tenure this year, best of luck, and to those who have a ways to go, I hope that this post is helpful.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and Thanks to My Great Students and Collaborators!

Many have traveled by planes, trains, busses, and/or cars or perhaps walked to get to their destinations today to celebrate Thanksgiving. Some will be the hosts and the delicious aromas of the turkey baking, along with all the fixings, are permeating homes. Others who have lost homes and are struggling, hopefully, will  be welcomed by their communities where there are volunteers to make sure that all those in need feel welcome.

As I communicated with my doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management and several close collaborators yesterday, it has certainly been a very eventful year. Some responded by saying that they remember celebrating Thanksgiving dinner over our home and were introduced to such traditions by my family.

I'd like to take this opportunity to give thanks to all those who have offered me advice and support this year, especially colleagues at INFORMS, at WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences),  RSAI (Regional Science Association International), the AMS (American Mathematical Society), and my wonderful new colleagues at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, where I have been spending part of my sabbatical this year. Special thanks to my great students and collaborators.

Alone we can only do so much but together we can accomplish tremendous things and also have an enjoyable time working together!

With best wishes to everyone for a safe, warm, and inviting Thanksgiving Day!

The photos below were taken at a Thanksgiving dinner that we hosted a few years back to which I invited my doctoral students at that time. They all successfully graduated and several have achieved tenure (even in record time). These memories we will always treasure.


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Magic of Holiday Windows in NYC

I spent 3 days in NYC recently. Usually, when I travel it is to give a talk or to attend a conference but this time I was playing the role of a "spouse" and was in NYC to support my husband who was being honored by the Radio Club of America.

The weather at this time of year could not have been better so we walked for miles.

The Christmas tree was up in Rockefeller Center but had not yet been decorated and the shades were still drawn at the Saks windows.

Several major stores (lucky for us) had already decorated their holiday windows and the below photos were taken at Macy's (which will be the destination of the Thanksgiving parade this Thursday as it has been for many years), at Lord & Taylor's, and at Tiffany's.

I thought that these displays captured so well the magic of this season and,  given all the major weather events of the past year including, Superstorm Sandy, it was relaxing to just view some beautiful window displays.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate this special holiday!
Holiday Windows at Macy's
Holiday Windows at Lord & Taylor
     Holiday Windows at Tiffany's
When I was an Assistant Professor at UMass Amherst, after receiving my PhD from Brown University, two colleagues from Marketing, who have since left, and have had prominent careers, Professor Tom Madden and Professor Bill Dillon, used to tease me that "they don't do windows."

The beauty and artistry in the above (and the Tiffany window displays are miniatures), can't help but inspire.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Congrats to the New Fellows of the Radio Club of America and Other Awardees and a Thank You

We recently returned from NYC where, this past Friday, my husband and I attended the 103rd Anniversary Awards Banquet of the Radio Club of America at the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South.

The evening was truly special, with the recognition of individuals who have contributed in a multiplicity of ways to radio communications and broadcasting, education, and even to engineering and the manufacturing of radio communications equipment.

Among the honorees was Ms. Carole J. Perry, who received The President's Award for her outstanding development and advancement of the Amateur Radio Youth Program. Ms. Perry is from Staten Island, and in her acceptance speech, she, as did several others, spoke of the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy. She noted that even though some still do not have power they still have strength! Ms. Erin King, who is a freshman at MIT, received the Young Achiever Award. David Buchanan received an award for his contributions to public safety.

I was at the banquet since my husband, Lad Nagurney (the other Professor Nagurney), was one of the five recipients of the Fellow Award.  Glenn Bischoff, the Publisher of Urgent Communications, was one of the other Fellow awardees, and I very much enjoyed talking with him about disaster communications and humanitarian logistics.
The keynote speaker was David Sumner, the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). He had recently returned from Vietnam. He was the contact person who had suggested, when I was organizing, under the auspices of the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center Programs,  the conference on Humanitarian Logistics: Networks for Africa, that I have Dr. Cosmas Zavazava of the International Telecommunications Union of the United Nations, speak.

David Sumner spoke brilliantly on the importance of communications, especially robust radio communications, in saving people's lives. Brian Williams had been the keynote speaker at last year's banquet, and Walter Cronkite, the year before he passed away..

We had a wonderful group of fascinating people at our banquet table, including Andrew Conte, and his wife, who had spent a year at UMass Amherst on an exchange program from Rutgers. Mr. Conte received the Jack Poppele Award, named after the founder of the radio station WOR and Director of the Voice of America under President Eisenhower.
Below, I have posted some additional photos taken at the New York Athletic Club and of those who attended

Congratulations to all the award recipients and thanks for all that the members have done over one century in communications and in education!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Interesting Upcoming Conferences on Networks, Computational Management Science, and Logistics in Great Locations

I recently returned from the 59th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 7-10, 2012, which was wonderful not only scientifically but also socially. At the conference the Japan section of the RSAI also honored Professor David E. Boyce for his research with a wonderful dinner, medal, and certificate.

Last Saturday, at the conference, I also was completely surprised and so deeply honored when NARSC (North American Regional Science Association Council) presented me with the Walter Isard Award for my scholarly contributions. Walter Isard was the Founder of Regional Science and someone whose legacy because of his writings, mentorship, leadership, and wide impact globally will continue to inspire new generations.

Conferences are special -- we get together to present our latest research, to reconnect with colleagues and friends, to learn from one another, and to celebrate achievements and recognitions. Conferences also may take place in  interesting locations/destinations so, in going, one learns also from travel experiences.

There are several upcoming conferences that may be of interest to some of my readers. These are smaller, focused conferences in locations that I have been to and have very much enjoyed. I admit, I am involved in these conferences in various capacities (on the program committee, for example, or as an invited speaker), so I do care about their success.

The conferences are:

4th Workshop on Complex Networks: CompleNet 2013
Berlin, Germany, March 13-15, 2013

The flier below is for the above logistics conference in Gothenburg.
And, just to further pique your interest,  below I have posted several photos of Gothenburg taken this year since I am a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg and have fallen in love with the city and its people plus all that the city has to offer!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Congratulations to the Inaugural Group of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS)

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) recently announced its inaugural list of Fellows.

Other societies, that I am a member of, have had the "Fellows" distinction (much)  longer from INFORMS  to The Econometric Society to SIAM to RSAI. I am a Fellow of the RSAI.

Needless to say, since AMS just introduced the Fellows recognition in 2012 the list is quite long with the goals of the Fellows Program being, according to the AMS website;
  • To create an enlarged class of mathematicians recognized by their peers as distinguished for their contributions to the profession.
  • To honor not only the extraordinary but also the excellent.
  • To lift the morale of the profession by providing an honor more accessible than those currently available.
  • To make mathematicians more competitive for awards, promotion, and honors when they are being compared with colleagues from other disciplines.
  • To support the advancement of more mathematicians in leadership positions in their own institutions and in the broader society.
Looking at the list of AMS Fellows took me down memory lane since not only were there names of mathematicians that I had cited in my papers and books and that I serve on editorial boards with and have also interacted with in various professional settings over the years, but there were 15 AMS Fellows from Brown University, my alma mater. From the Division of Applied Mathematics the AMS Fellows are: Constantine Dafermos, Wendell Fleming, Stuart Geman, John Mallet-Paret, Donald McClure, David Mumford, Chi-Wang Shu, and Walter Strauss and the honorees from the Department of Mathematics are: Thomas Goodwillie, Thomas Banchoff, Stephen Lichtenbaum, Hee Oh, Jill Pipher, Joseph Silverman, and John Wermer.

Since I have 3 degrees in Applied Math from Brown and also a degree in Russian Language and Literature (yes, I love languages of all sorts, including computer programming languages)  I know and even had as instructors many of the faculty on the above list in Applied Math. Plus, Constantine Dafermos was Stella Dafermos' husband and she was my doctoral dissertation advisor at Brown. 

Of course, on the list are individuals who already are Fellows of other societies that I mentioned above.

Congratulations to all the AMS Fellows!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Supply Chain Networks with Global Outsourcing and Quick-Response Production -- Operations Research and Fast Fashion

Last Sunday's New York Times magazine had a terrific article by Suzy Hansen, "How Zara Grew Into the World's Largest Fashion Retailer,"  which I very much enjoyed reading. I do admit that,  when I live in Gothenburg, Sweden, I enjoy visiting the Zara, H&M, and TopShop stores there since I conduct research on a variety of network systems, including supply chain networks.  Along with my former doctoral student, who is now an Assistant Professor, Min Yu,  we have published two papers on what is known as fast fashion.

The first paper on the topic that we wrote is: Fashion Supply Chain Management Through Cost and Time Minimization from a Network Perspective, Anna Nagurney and Min Yu, in Fashion Supply Chain Management: Industry and Business Analysis (2011), T.M. Choi, Editor, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp 1-20.

The second is: Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management Under Oligopolistic Competition and Brand Differentiation, Anna Nagurney and Min Yu, International Journal of Production Economics, Special Section on Green Manufacturing and Distribution in the Fashion and Apparel Industries 135: (2012) pp 532-540.

In The New York Times article,  Hansen writes about the company Inditex, which owns the Zara brand and series of stores. She writes:  More than half of Inditex’s manufacturing takes place either in the factories it owns or within proximity to company headquarters, which is to say in Europe or Northern Africa. Inditex owns factories in Spain and outsources production to factories in Portugal, Morocco and Turkey — considered costly labor markets, typically. The rest of its clothes are produced in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Brazil, among other countries. The trendiest items are made closest to home, however, so that the production process, from start to finish, takes only two to three weeks. Inditex’s higher labor costs are offset by greater flexibility — no extra inventory lying around — and on faster turnaround speed. 

The article also has some very nice quotes from Professor Fraiman of Columbia University that got me excited because of the language and terminology. Fraiman, in commenting on Inditex's  ideas on expanding in China stated that: “Their factories in La Coruña have a finite capacity to respond quickly. You open more and more stores, and you don’t have flexibility of the last-minute response. Once they have a big thrust in China, then what happens is that they will have to take the whole model” — the processing of customer reactions, the quick-turnaround design teams, the logistics platform — “and replicate it in China.” But the bigger Inditex gets, he says, the more it will lose control over quality and efficiency. 

In a recent paper of ours, Supply Chain Networks with Global Outsourcing and Quick-Response Production Under Demand and Cost Uncertainty, Zugang Liu and Anna Nagurney, which is in press in a special issue of the Annals of Operations Research, we use Zara, as well as toy production, as some of the motivating examples. The paper is also interesting from a methodological perspective since we integrate stochastic programming, game theory, and variational inequality theory, as well as real options from finance.

Specifically, in our paper, which my co-author presented at the INFORMS conference in Phoenix and will also be presenting at the DSI conference in San Francisco next week, we developed a modeling and computational framework for supply chain networks with global outsourcing and quick-response production under demand and cost uncertainty. The  model considers multiple off-shore suppliers, multiple manufacturers, and multiple demand markets. Using variational inequality theory, we were able to formulate the governing equilibrium conditions of the competing decision-makers (the manufacturers) who are faced with two-stage stochastic programming problems but who also have to cooperate with the other decision makers (the off-shore suppliers). Our theoretical and analytical results shed light on the value of outsourcing from novel real option perspectives. In addition, our simulation studies reveal important managerial insights regarding how demand and cost uncertainty affects the profits, the risks, as well as the global outsourcing and quick-production decisions of supply chain firms under competition.

 The paper will appear in a special issue dedicated to the memory of Professor Cyrus Derman, who passed away last April at age 85. According to Columbia University, Professor Emeritus Cyrus Derman, was considered the driving force behind the success of Columbia Engineering's Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR). He had also served as the doctoral dissertation advisor of well-known colleagues in Operations Research, including Professor Michael Katehakis, one of the co-editors of the special memorial volume, Peter Kolesar, and Art Veinott, Jr.

The theme of the special issue is
Optimization under Uncertainty Costs, Risks and Revenues.

Monday, November 12, 2012

More Photos from the Great Regional Science Conference in Ottawa, Canada

I do find it rather amazing that, although I was born in Canada, until the 59th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International, which recently took place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, I had never been to Ottawa, Canada's capital!

In my previous blogpost, I wrote about the wonderful dinner in honor of  Professor David E. Boyce, that was hosted by Professor Yoshiro Higano of Japan and the accompanying ceremony and also included several photos taken at the very memorable evening.

I often include photos in my blogposts because then one gets a sense of different locations, the atmosphere there, and, of course, the people and sights.

Below I have posted several photos taken at the conference. The first photo below is a snapshot of the view from my window at the Westin hotel that was the conference venue. The other photos were taken at the RSAI Fellows luncheon,  at the coffee breaks,  of my very own session speakers, and at a special session to honor the great contributions of Professor John Quigley, who passed away this year.

 In a separate blogpost I will be writing and including photos of the awards luncheon that took place at the conference this past Saturday.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Night to Remember -- Japan RSAI Honors Professor David E. Boyce for his Transportation Research

I am back from Ottawa, Canada where I took part in the 59th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International, November 7-10, 2012.

On Friday, November 9th, 2012, I attended a truly special dinner honoring the contributions of Professor David E. Boyce. I had blogged earlier about the conference as well as a special dinner invitation that I received from Professor Yoshiro Higano, the President of the Japan Section of the RSAI (Regional Science Association International).

The dinner took place at the Sterling restaurant outside of Ottawa.

Professor Boyce was honored with a special award on the 50th anniversary of the Japan Section of the RSAI for his paper, "Predicting Road Traffic Route Flows Uniquely for Urban Transportation Planning, " published in the  Studies in Regional Science, vol.42, no.1, The 50th Anniversary Special Issue.

In his statement, Professor Higano noted that Professor David Boyce is an expert in transportation planning. He has been engaged for many years in practical urban transportation planning in large urban areas including Chicago in the US and has actively participated in international scholarly meetings of regional science, transportation planning, urban and regional planning, and so on.

In fact, Professor David E. Boyce  has attended 49 North American meetings of the Regional Science Association International in the past 49 years!    What an amazing scientific feat and, as he told me, also luck!

Professor Higano noted that the traffic assignment model, which was developed by Professor Boyce and his heirs in the field of Transportation Engineering, has had  a great impact on practice and theory in the field of urban transportation planning in Japan in 1970’s. The methodology was based on stochastic probability theory.

I can personally attest to Professor David E. Boyce's scholarship and will always value his mentorship and friendship as research in traffic network equilibrium has evolved over the decades!

He remembers the first time that he met me and that was at the regional science conference in Denver, Colorado, shortly after I had received my PhD from Brown University. My dissertation advisor, Professor Stella Dafermos, who passed away in 1990, and I had traveled to the conference.

Below, I have posted some photos of the exceptional meal and ceremony in Ottawa, hosted by Professor Higano in honor of Professor Boyce -- the conversation, stories, and laughter we will always treasure.

Congratulations to Professor David E. Boyce, who, among his many other notable recognitions, is also an INFORMS Fellow and an RSAI Fellow!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So Energized and Relieved -- Second Term for President Obama

My daughter is a college freshman who just voted in her first US Presidential Election.

The enthusiasm and energy and interest of college students and beyond in this election was immense and intense.

People stood for hours, even those who had been left homeless by Hurricane Sandy, some of whom had to make do with makeshift polling stations.

In my previous post,  I wrote that I am off to Canada -- to a conference this week.

Now, given the outcome, I am also eager to return with new hope for more positive change and to have us continue to move forward.

Yes, President Obama, as you said: "We've Got More Work to Do," and through inclusiveness, valuing diversity, recognizing that we must work together to mitigate the effects of climate change for this and future generations, caring for the less fortunate, and investing in science for discoveries and economic growth and our our future, we can, again, make the US the land of wonderful opportunities for all those who work so hard.

We can also be a world leader and example in terms of excellence in all dimensions -- from education to infrastructure to innovation and creativity and rewarding jobs and to peace on earth.

It is truly a great day for our nation.

I continue to get congratulations from other countries on the results of this election.

I am breathing a huge sigh of relief and am smiling from renewed energy and hope for our generation and for our children.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Going to Canada and a Letter from Japan

Today is  election day for the President of the US and I am already getting many emails from Europe from colleagues there who are anxious about the outcome -- will it be President Obama for another four years or President Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts?

Needless, to say, I am very anxious about the outcome as well.

The New York Times, last Sunday, had a rather tongue-in-cheek article: At  a Loss? There's Always Canada by Joh Ortved that was commented on in the British press.

I was born in Canada, in Windsor, across the border from Detroit and travel regularly to Canada to give invited seminars and to present papers at conferences. Every time that I cross the border I feel a sense of comfort and recognition.

This week, after the voting is over, and the winner is finalized, I will be off to Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

I will be taking part in the 59th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International. and will be delivering the presentation,  "A Dynamic Network Oligopoly Model with Transportation Costs, Product Differentiation, and Quality Competition,"   based on the paper co-authored with a doctoral student of mine, Dong "Michelle" Li. The research behind this paper is funded, in part, by our National Science Foundation (NSF) grant CISE #1111276, for the NeTS: Large: Collaborative Research: Network Innovation Through Choice project awarded to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

I am a Fellow of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) and always look forward to this conference, which has a discussant for each paper, and takes place in interesting locations. Last year the conference was in Miami, immediately before the INFORMS conference in Charlotte, which worked out very well. The North American RSAI conference always has very nice social activities, including an RSAI Fellows lunch,  and interesting plenary talks and special sessions. Plus. I enjoy seeing many colleagues from around the globe!

This year, and I hope that the forecasted nor'easter blows through before I board the plane to Canada in which everyone gets an aisle and a window seat simultaneously, we will also be celebrating  Professor David E. Boyce's recent award. Professor Boyce is both an RSAI Fellow and an INFORMS Fellow and a very special colleague.  Dave and I wrote the preface, published in the INFORMS journal, Transportation Science,  to the translation of the Braess paradox (1968) paper that I did with Braess and with my former doctoral student, Tina Wakolbinger (who is now a Full Professor in Austria). I have collaborated on other papers with Professor Boyce, as well.

The Japan RSAI, which celebrated her 50th Anniversary this year,  has awarded Professor Dr. David Boyce a Special Award.   Professor Yoshiro Higano of Tsukuba University shared with me this wonderful news when I was in Gothenburg, Sweden last month. He will be representing Japan RSAI  to present the award to Professor Boyce during a dinner scheduled for Friday evening, 9th November, 2012, in Ottawa.   

I received the lovely invitation letter below, which I very much appreciate.

I am very much looking forward to going to Canada!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sustaining Supply Chains in Disasters and Post Hurricane Sandy

One week after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the mid-Atlantic states of the United States there are still over a million electric power outages.

With cold temperatures, shortages of fuel for both vehicles and generators, and now a shelter crisis, due to so many homes being destroyed in parts of  New York and New Jersey, and major impacts on transportation infrastructure from bridges to subways, plus a nor'easter storm forecast for mid-week, I am wondering why more was not done and is not being done to help those in the recovery process.

Our relatives in New Jersey are still without power one week after losing it and friends have had to seek shelter since they are now homeless.

Clearly,  there are issues of serious resource misallocations as well as information shortages, among other shortages. Trained personnel are needed to restore power where it is needed and fuel needs to be transported and people informed as to where they can obtain it. Information needs to be provided to those who have lost their abilities to receive news and to receive communications electronically.

There are also questions, in certain communities,  surrounding how, if any, prioritization was done, in terms of restoring electric power, delivering fuel and other resources.

Commercial supply chains are different from humanitarian ones  and  we need to learn from previous disasters.

Different organizations can accomplish much more through synergistic teaming.  and it is good to see the military, including the National Guard, making extraordinary efforts to assist after this extraordinary disaster.

I was interviewed by Mr. Michael Breen for an AMS podcast on Sustaining the Supply Chain and the podcast can be accessed here.

There was also a recent special issue of the journal Transportation Research A on Network Vulnerability of Large-Scale Transport Networks in which Patrick Qiang and I published the paper, A bi-criteria indicator to assess supply chain network performance for critical needs under capacity and demand disruptions.

In this paper,  we constructed  a performance indicator in the case that demands for critical needs products (water, food, medicines, etc.) can be satis fied. We then considered the case when not all the demands can be satis fied and de fined another performance indicator. In order to assist cognizant organizations, such as governments, relevant corporations, and NGOs, to better manage critical needs supply chains, a bi-criteria performance indicator was, subsequently, proposed in this paper. This indicator synthesizes the preceding two in that it considers the following factors:

  • Supply chain capacities may be a ffected by disruptions;
  • Demands may be a ffected by disruptions; and
  • Disruption scenarios are categorized into two types.
We also showed how our supply chain performance indicators could be applied in practice and now we are seeing yet another disaster. More severe scenarios can be expected, given climate change, which is upon us and our communities. 

Time to harness all of our energies and expertise to minimize the damages, the pain, and the suffering.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

So Good to See that Colleges Will Resume Classes Tomorrow Post Hurricane Sandy

What a relief that the majority of colleges and universities in the mid-Atlantic states,  in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, that lost power due to Hurricane Sandy,  and cancelled classes last  week,  have had their electric power restored and have completed their cleanup operations so that classes will be resuming tomorrow.

My daughter has returned to her college and was "rescued" by relatives who live in New Jersey but who have, yet, to have power restored to their homes and .have been sharing a generator,  which they purchased at a Home Depot two days after they lost power. Their neighbors have been cooking on grills and having potluck suppers together and making the most of candlelight.

Now, the temperatures are dropping, so I hope that the electric power gets restored to the hundreds of thousands still without power, and have suffered immensely for six days and nights since the outages, coupled with devastated infrastructure from roads to distribution centers,  have  resulted in gas shortages with our relatives having to drive daily to Pennsylvania to fuel up a pickup truck and to obtain fuel for the generator.

Now, to add more pain and misery to the affected areas, there is a nor'easter forecast to arrive in the middle of this coming week as is being reported on

I would like to thank all our friends and colleagues as well as relatives who reached out to us during this time -- even from as far as Europe!

As for all those left homeless because of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath from the flooding to the fires, know that you are in our prayers and we hope that the donations will help you to rebuild and to recover.

UMass to Celebrate 150 Years and President Caret's Great OpEd on Its Mission

One needs to write and to communicate by speaking out.

As a professor and educator, I try to do my part by writing journal articles, books, and even OpEd pieces to reach a broader audience.

I also blog because many students and colleagues urged me to do so over three years ago.

And when the opportunity presents itself, and,  I am available, I enjoy talking with the media.

It is important to recognize what is going well, what needs improvement, and to celebrate when there are achievements and to propose solutions and take actions, where and when these are needed.

Books, as we know, can change the world, and will live longer than any of us -- the same holds for great discoveries and works of art and music.

Dr. Robert Caret, the relatively new President of the UMass system, wrote a wonderful OpEd,

 Viewpoint: UMass remains on mission 150 years later,  in which he states: Here in Massachusetts, the passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act led to the founding of the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1863. The college, established on the principle that science and research could be used to improve the overall quality of life, was built around a curriculum of farming, science, technical courses and liberal arts.
Robert Caret 91812.jpg Robert L. Caret (
What would become the University of Massachusetts has grown, but its original mission of transformation remains unchanged.

He goes on to note some of our recent successes, 150 years after,  with the Permaculture Garden, which was recognized even by President Obama,  to our Green High-Performance Computing Center.

He also  emphasized accessibility and affordability and, given the international competition of college admissions today and the student debt crisis, I could not agree more!

President Caret has traveled on a bus throughout our state of Massachusetts, meeting with many stakeholders.

Recently, I was interviewed by our new Vice Chancellor for University Relations, John Kennedy, about my experiences as a UMass Amherst chaired professor, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor. The videographers traveled from Boston for the videotaping and one of them was a UMass Amherst grad.  I must admit, though, that I thought it  rather funny when one of them kept on powdering my face, which I had never had happen in either TV shoots or other videotaping sessions. I guess that day I glowed too much (or was it because I had just flown back from Sweden 2 days prior where I had spent a month as part of my sabbatical). I was excited to talk about UMass Amherst and my experiences. I spoke about how many multiple generations of UMass graduates there are and how many of my students tell me that they were happiest when they were students at UMass Amherst -- and, amongst these I include, several top-level executives.

Of course, I also talked about what makes the Isenberg School of Management great.

I also noted Jack Smith, a former CEO of General Motors, who had endowed the chaired professorship that I hold in honor of his father who was also a UMass Amherst alum, from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Jack Smith Jr. had received a degree in Operations Management from my business school and is an outstanding example of the difference that UMass Amherst grads have made in the corporate arena.

Thank you, President Caret,  for speaking out about the heritage of UMass, which is alive today, and noting that: One hundred fifty years ago, during the darkest days of the Civil War, a single piece of legislation forever changed the landscape of higher education in the United States. Introduced by Vermont Congressman Justin Smith Morrill, it sought to create a national system of public higher education to ensure that a college degree would be available to many and not just be the province of a few.

Here in Massachusetts, the passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act led to the founding of the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1863. 

And, indeed,  science and research should be used and is being used to improve the overall quality of life!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Photos from Dr. Benneyan's Talk Today and Our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Magna Cum Laude Award Celebration

I would like to, first, thank INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences)  for its great Speakers Program (but, then again, I am a bit biased since I have been Chair of the Speakers Program for the past two years).

Today, we had the honor of hearing Dr. James Benneyan speak on Healthcare Systems Engineering and the talk focused on many of the problems with the healthcare system in the US and the associated costs and possible remedies, from the micro to the macro scale.

Dr. Benneyan is a speaker in the INFORMS Speaker Program.

He emphasized the importance of systems and systems engineering and in working on problems in the real world. He also spoke about what such well-known OR/MS methodologies as queuing, inventory theory, location theory, optimization and simulation as well as supply chain management can contribute to helping to solve the many problems.

Dr. Benneyan is a UMass Amherst PhD alum and is an award-winning researcher and faculty member at Northeastern University who runs major research programs in healthcare systems which combine research, applications, as well as education.

I took pages of notes.

Below are photos taken from the lunch through the discussion, which continued long after his presentation. The audience consisted of undergrad, MBA students, Master's students, PhD students from the Isenberg School of Management and from Engineering as well as faculty.

We also celebrated the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter receipt of the magna cum laude award at the recent INFORMS Phoenix conference. This is the 6th national award that our chapter has received in the past 6 years. As the chapter's Faculty Advisor, I could not be happier! The students and the chapter officers do an outstanding job of planning activities, including Dr. Benneyan's talk today.