Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Perfect First Day at the CMS Conference in Vienna

My flight from Logan Airport in Boston to Frankfurt via Lufthansa was wonderful except that there was a dog underneath my seat named Bailey, who is a shitzu, and who whined painfully for hours. Some of us thought that the plane was experiencing mechanical difficulties.

As I wrote back in May on this blog, on my flight back from Honolulu, there was a cat next to me that a serviceman had brought on board.

Bailey's owner said that it was his third trip to Germany and, for some reason, he could not settle down. I managed to converse a bit with my seatmate and read the NYTimes but then decided that with the conference and my speaking engagements in Europe I had better get some sleep. Luckily, a stewardess found me another aisle seat so that I could catch some shuteye. My new seatmate was a postdoc from Germany, who is Italian, and who was returning from a Gordon conference in New Hampshire so we ended up having a delightful conversation about scientific research and even the World Cup and we even managed to get some sleep.

The Lufthansa plane had terrific and very comfortable seats and the bathrooms (first time I had seen this) were in the middle of the plane and a staircase down (lots of legroom there).

After a brief layover at the Frankfurt airport I caught my Austrian Airways flight to Vienna.

Yesterday was the first day of the Computational Management Science conference which is taking place in glorious Vienna, Austria. The weather here is sunny and cool with gentle breezes -- simply perfect and a very welcome break from the heat back in the US.

Yesterday I gave the opening keynote talk on supply chains networks and had a chance to speak at another session that I had organized. In the latter, one of my former doctoral students, Professor Tina Wakolbinger also spoke, and it is always extra special to see former students doing so well. In addition, a group of us, including colleagues from Texas and Florida, went out to lunch together.

Last evening a group of us was invited to Professor Georg Pflug's home in Vienna for a lavish dinner buffet. Professor Pflug is the organizer of this conference. It was the perfect evening with colleagues from around the world conversing and dining in an elegant setting.

It will be hard to leave this magnificent city!

Of course, I already also managed to indulge in some delicious Mozart kugel chocolates.