Sunday, June 25, 2017

Packing Up for Humanitarian Logistics and Dynamics of Disasters Conferences in Europe

An an operations researcher, I tend to be rather efficient when it comes to packing and travel (also, all the practice definitely helps). However, my most challenging set of trips was, coincidentally, when I was a 2005-2006 Science Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) at Harvard. I am back now at RIAS as a Summer Fellow and loving it. In the summer of 2006, I had a conference in Cyprus, a conference in Iceland, and then a conference in Sicily (all in succession). This meant packing for 2 weeks of hot weather and one week of "cold" weather, with temps in Iceland that never reached above 48F.  I had to do a reconnaissance mission in that my husband and daughter joined me in Iceland and did bring some warmer outfits for me. We did some substitutions as to the hot weather professional outfits that they took back to Massachusetts and I then continued from Iceland to Sicily.

This week, I am flying from Boston to Vienna, Austria, where I will be speaking at  EURO HOpe 2017, which is taking place at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). I was invited to speak at this conference by Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, who was my former PhD student in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management. She is now the Director of the Research Institute for Supply Chain Management at WU and a Full Professor (achieving this status in record time).

The program for this two day conference is fabulous with many leaders in humanitarian logistics and operations research taking part.


At this conference, I will be speaking on research done with Emilio Alvarez Flores and Ceren Soylu, which was published in the journal Transportation Research E. 

Then, after next weekend, I will be heading from Vienna to Kalamata, Greece, where I co-organized, with Professors Fuad Aleskerov, Ilias S. Kotsireas, and Panos M. Pardalos, the 3rd International Conference on Dynamics of Disasters.

UMass Amherst posted this nice article on the conference.

I had also co-organized, with Kotsireas and Pardalos, the 2nd International Dynamics of Disasters (DOD) conference, and the proceedings volume was published last year.
At the last DOD conference, there were quite a few speakers who will now be speaking at the EURO HOpe conference, including Dr. Burcu Balcik, Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, and Dr. Fuminori Toyasaki, and yours truly.


Packing for a conference taking place in the summer in Vienna, Austria,  and in Kalamata, Greece, is much easier than the trifecta of conferences I had to pack for in 2006. For one, the climate, in terms of temperature, is not so different and, also, thank goodness, summer clothing weighs less than winter clothing! And, yes, I always carry on my suitcase, unless, as I did last summer - I have a multimonth appointment as I had had - at the University of Oxford in England. Clearly, the number and size of suitcases that you take on your travels serve as a constraint. I also lift weights so that I can easily put my suitcase in the overhead bin although, I must admit, I do enjoy the courtesy of a gentleman reaching out and assisting me, every once in a while.


I am very much looking forward to the exchange of ideas and research at both of these conferences and in seeing colleagues with a passion for humanitarian logistics and disaster relief from around the globe! At the DOD conference, we will have speakers from the United Nations and from multiple continents. My former doctoral student at the Isenberg School, now Professor, Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, will be coming from the University of Sydney in Australia to speak. It will be extra special to also have three of the four co-authors of our paper, "A Variational Inequality Network Framework for Humanitarian Organizations in Disaster Relief: Effective Product Delivery Under Competition for Financial Funds," coming. Dr. Patrizia Daniele will be traveling from Italy and Emilio Alvarez Flores from the US.

I will also be presenting a paper on freight, game theory, and disaster relief, and the "other" Professor Nagurney, Dr. Ladimer S. Nagurney, will be speaking on disaster communications.
 Happy and safe travels, everyone, wherever your passion leads you!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Celebrated Publication of Our Cybersecurity Investment Game Theory Paper at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

Today, I had the pleasure of seeing my most recent PhD student from the Isenberg School of Management, Shivani Shukla, who successfully defended her dissertation in May, and is now Dr. Shivani Shukla. She will soon assume her new tenure track academic position in San Francisco - very exciting!

Shivani and I were celebrating the publication of our paper, which is on cybersecurity investments, and which appears in the July issue of the European Journal of Operational Research. 
I also very much wanted to show Shivani the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) at Harvard University where I am spending the summer as a Fellow. I had been a Science Fellow at RIAS in 2005-2006, which was quite the historic year with Harvard's President at that time, Dr. Larry Summers, resigning, and the Dean of Radcliffe, Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, becoming the first female President of Harvard. She announced her resignation recently, after serving for 10 years.

And, what serendipity, when Shivani and I entered the gorgeous RIAS Fellows  Building, Byerly Hall, we saw a UMass Amherst colleague, Dr. Andrea Nahmod of the Math/Stats Department, who is also a Summer Fellow and had just returned from a conference in France!

I gave Shivani a tour and emphasized all the features that make RIAS so special - from the focus on interdisciplinarity, to the ambience, the staff, the Fellows, and even the beautiful garden, where we posed in with our latest paper.
Of course, we also enjoyed a delicious lunch at Algiers and then treats at Burdick's.
As an academic, it gives me great joy to see my 20th PhD student begin on her new academic journey with a nice portfolio of journal articles already in hand! I hope that, one day, she will be a Fellow at RIAS!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Talk on Game Theory for Disaster Relief and Blood Supply Chains at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

Today is the first day of summer and it is a glorious day in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It is also a perfect day for my presentation on Game Theory Network Models for Disaster Relief and Blood Supply Chains.
I am at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) at Harvard University as a Summer Fellow (and was a Fellow 2005-2006). It is truly special to be back at RIAS, which now has Byerly Hall remodeled for all the Fellows which hail from around the globe and represent numerous disciplines. The energy, enthusiasm, and collegiality among the Fellows is truly special. In the summer there are talks given at lunches and the menu for mine is exquisite with two of my favorite food groups: salmon and baklava!

It is challenging to prepare a talk, which is on a technical subject, since I specialize in operations research and math modelling, to a general audience. I like such challenges and presented at RIAS back in 2005-2006. I have also done such presentations at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center on Lake Como as well as at the World Science Festival in NYC  and at one of the New York Times' EnergyforTomorrow events. In addition, I enjoyed giving a Distinguished Faculty lecture at UMass Amherst a while back when I received the Chancellor's Medal.

My presentation can be downloaded here.

It was wonderful to have scientists, mathematicians, anthropologists, literature specialists, and others at my talk. Thanks to RIAS for such an amazing Fellowship Program!
Also, I could not resist taking a photo with a Radcliffe staff member who was here when I was a Science Fellow in 2005-2006.

And a special surprise was seeing so many of my books on a shelf in the seminar room today!

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Isenberg School of Management Rocks Boston

Yesterday, the fifth annual Isenberg Business Leadership Awards Dinner took place at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston.

Since I am now a Summer Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and now living in Cambridge, this made for an easy commute to this special event. My husband and I took the Red line and then the Green line which dropped us off right in front of the hotel.

There were over 300 alums, faculty, administrators, special guests, and even students at this gala evening.

We were there to honor two special Isenberg School alums and honorees: Earl Stafford, an executive, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, and Nick Markey, a CPA with Deloitte.
 The menu was exquisite as was the actual food.
What made this Business Leadership Awards dinner truly special for me was seeing two of my former MBA students, now very successful executives, Kevin Koswick and Vinnie Daboul, whose daughters are now Isenberg School alumna, as well!

It was also terrific to hear the speakers, including our outstanding, super energetic Dean, Dr. Mark A. Fuller, whose exceptional leadership has propelled the Isenberg School of Management in the various rankings. We are also in the midst of a very exciting addition to the infrastructure of the school with a $62 million addition of a Business Innovation Hub.

The Boston Globe had the featured ad below in yesterday's edition, which the Dean noted. It recognized that 66% of the graduating seniors of the Isenberg School gave to the school - quite the accomplishment and all their names were listed!

Also present at the gala dinner was our fabulous UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Professor Dick Simpson who taught accounting at the Isenberg School passed the age of 80!
There were several Operations and Information Management alums at our table as well as Finance alums and the jobs our students get are so impressive - with top companies such as EY, Deloitte, JP Morgan, IBM, to name just a few, and even SpaceX (one of Elon Musk's companies).
It was terrific to see many of my Isenberg School colleagues, including a great turnout from the McCormack Department of Sports Management, with Associate Dean Lisa Masteralexis, Professor Steven McKelvey, Professor Nefertiti Walker (our new Director of Diversity and Inclusion), all bringing their exceptional professionalism and smiles to this event.
Plus, what would an evening be without our Marketing colleagues, Professor Bruce Weinberg, Head of the Marketing Department, and Professor Easwar Iyer, joined by several alums.
And, as we exited from a lovely evening and terrific networking event, we were offered the Annual Dean's Report.
In it, I was thrilled to see Hailey Cockrum, who was one of our amazing Operations and Information Management majors, and who graduated in May 2017. Hailey took both my Transportation and Logistics class and my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class. She is the one now working at SpaceX in LA.
 The Isenberg School Rocked Boston!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Green Spaces At and Near Harvard University

It's been a terrific week and I am enjoying being back at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University very much. Byerly Hall is where the Fellows, including the Summer Fellows, have their offices, and my office overlooks a fountain and a garden.

Since I am a tree hugger and it is now June it is wonderful to discover and to enjoy special places in Cambridge and Boston that are green! I continue to do research on sustainability and have also published on the design of sustainable supply chains for sustainable cities.

Besides the Cambridge Common, featured below,
I find the Harvard Business School, with its lovely collection of buildings, surrounded by beautiful landscaping and flowers a true gem.
A favorite discovery of mine, while taking a walk on Brattle Street, is the Mount Auburn Cemetery, which is a national landmark, and not only the burial place of numerous historical figures, but also an expanse of lovely gardens, fountains, and architecture. I saw a turkey, a bunny, and multiple chipmunks and was serenaded by birds during a walk there last week.
Another favorite green space is the public garden in Boston, which is an absolute delight.
And, after explorations and soaking in the beauty of green spaces as well as the fragrant air, it is always terrific to come back to Radcliffe where the painting below hangs outside my office.
Green spaces add so much to the quality of life in cities.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Back at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard

It is great to be back at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University!
I was a Science Fellow in 2005-2006 at Radcliffe and am now back as a Summer Fellow. 2005-2006 was a dramatic year in which Larry Summers stepped down as President of Harvard and the Dean of Radcliffe, Drew Gilpin Faust, became the first female President of Harvard.

The Radcliffe Yard is beautiful and there is now a lovely building, Byerly Hall, in which all the Fellows have offices. Back in 2005-2006, many of the Science Fellows had offices in Putnam House on Brattle Street.

I have a view from my Harvard office of a fountain and garden that remind me of being back at Oxford University, where I was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College last year during the Trinity term. 

While a Fellow at Radcliffe I am working on a project on game theory and disaster relief and also on blood supply chains. I will be presenting on my project at Radcliffe on June 21, the first day of summer!

I am very excited about meeting the other Summer Fellows and am delighted that my colleague, Andrea  Nahmod from UMass Amherst, is also a Summer Fellow!

I love interdisciplinary research and being in a truly special place such as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, surrounded by scientists, novelists, artists, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and even an archeologist, one can't help but be inspired.

Thank you, Radcliffe, for this great opportunity! It is terrific to be back.