Friday, June 20, 2014

How We Celebrated a Superstar Operations Researcher's Birthday in Super Style - Congrats and Thanks to Professor Panos M. Pardalos!

This week a truly extraordinary conference is taking place in Chalkidiki, Greece, which I had the honor and privilege to speak at.

The conference, Optimization, Control and Applications in the Information Age,  is in honor of the superstar operations researcher, the scientist Professor Panos Pardalos of the University of Florida,  who has received numerous deserved accolades.

The conference consists of single tracks, so we are all together, which makes for lively exchanges and cameraderie, plus the program is fantastic from theoretical advances to applications ranging from the modeling of brush fires and debris flows (and damage minimization through mitigation)  to network modeling of vaccine dissemination to supply chain network competition for time-sensitive products, as an illustration. The full program is available here.

We traveled many miles to get to this location, flying in from around the globe to the Thessaloniki Airport, and then driving (or being driven by taxi) to the conference venue which is on the Mediterranean Sea.

The conference is celebrating the 60th birthday of Panos and is organized by Professors Sergiy Butenko of Texas A&M University and Sakis Migdalas, now of the University of Lulea in Sweden. We thank them for putting this remarkable conference together!
Since I know that my readers are eager for photos, below I share some with you.

The opening reception last Sunday at which it was great to see Panos and his family, and many colleagues and friends

The above photo is of Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, who was my PhD student at the Isenberg School, and who traveled with his wife (for 48 hours) from the University of Sydney in Australia!

The opening session at which Professor Butenko shows the Pardalos academic tree and I give my talk (Panos has graduated over 50 PhD students!)

The great breakfasts and lunches that we shared together
The presentation of the edited Springer volume to Professor Pardalos in honor of his birthday
And the grand birthday party, with a delicious dinner and terrific conversations, which continued after the sun set over the sea (of course we could not help but discuss also the World Cup since conferres cam efrom so many different countries!)
The above photo is of Professor Pardalos with his former doctoral students who were at this terrific conference.

We thank Professor Pardalos for being the extraordinary scholar and leader in operations research, who has been a mentor to many!
Happy birthday, Professor Panos Pardalos - we wish you many more wonderful years as a scholar, educator, and fabulous human being! Thank you for building such an exceptional community of operations researchers and optimization experts!
And, as we were getting ready to return to Sweden, where I am spending several weeks, as part of my Visiting Professorship at the University of Gothenburg, I could not help but have the photo below taken with Professor Alla Kammerdiner, who is a heroine, having run the 2013 Boston Marathon and who continues to run marathons. She spoke on cyber-physical systems and helping the aged minimize falls and injuries. Doing Good with Great Operations Research is what gives us all great joy. Alla's t-shirt states: Love is the New Red!
As I tell my students, work hard, and you will travel to amazing destinations and meet incredible people!

As for more good news, Professor Oleg Prokopyev's suitcase (from the University of Pittsburgh, which was traveling through Boston and Istanbul) finally arrived after 3 additional days in transit. His friend, Dr. Matsypura, in the meantime, had gone with him on the ferry to the neighboring town of Marmara, to buy the nice t-shirt below!
Safe travels, everyone, and enjoy the journey!