Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Public Transit and Climate Change

A few days ago I was interviewed by a student journalist for the UMass Amherst student newspaper, the Daily Collegian. I agreed to the interview, since the topic was on transportation and the environment, a theme that I have written a lot about and am very passionate about. The interview focused specifically on public transit and its role in reducing emissions (and congestion, I might add).

As someone, who did not get her license until she became a Full Professor and mother, I have always enjoyed using different modes of transportation, including public transportation. Growing up in Yonkers, New York, we would walk for miles, ride busses, and sometimes take the train to NYC along the Hudson River. I would ride the subway from the Bronx into Manhattan and back regularly.

During my international travels, I always pay attention to the transportation infrastructure in different countries and make a point of taking public transit.

Frankly, I enjoy the social aspects of public transit -- seeing different people from all walks of life. Last Friday and Saturday, I was in Cambridge and Boston and taking the Red Line from Harvard Square to Park Street always takes my breath away as we approach the Charles MGH station with the gorgeous water views. I also got a chance to ride the Green Line.

The article in the Daily Collegian, entitled: UMass Transit encourages students, residents, to hop on for climate change, by Tim Jones was published today. Jones did an excellent job of capturing the major issues and the importance of having more transit alternatives available that reduce carbon emissions. You can read the article here.

So do take a more environmentally-friendly mode of transportation, whenever you can, and do it not just for yourself but for future generations. You may even meet some really nice people en route.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Join Us for the Northeast INFORMS Conference at UMass Amherst in 2011!

We heard today from Tracy Byrnes of INFORMS that the website for the Northeast INFORMS Conference, with the theme, Theory to Practice, which will be held May 6-7, 2011, at UMass Amherst, is now online; see: http://meetings.informs.org/RegionalNortheastern2011

This should be an outstanding venue for the exchange of the latest research of faculty, students, and practitioners in operations research/management sciences in different industries.

Please check this website often as details are added in the coming months!

Dr. Hari Balasubramanian of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at UMass Amherst is the General Chair and Dr. Les Servi of MITRE and Dr. Tamas Terlaky of Lehigh University are the Program Co-Chairs. I will be serving on the Program Committee and Dr. Rina Schneur of Verizon Labs and Dr. Cynthia Barnhart of MIT are on the Advisory Committee.

Below is the Call for Papers.

Abstract Deadline: February 18, 2011

Early Registration Deadline: April 8, 2011

Join us for the INFORMS Northeastern Conference, the fifth in a series of regional conferences. The goal of this meeting is to facilitate communication among OR/MS academics (students and faculty) and practitioners around current research and applied work. Academics and practitioners in the U.S. northeastern region are strongly encouraged to attend and present.

While we anticipate that most attendees will come from the U.S. northeastern region, attendees from across the country and beyond are warmly welcomed.

Read further below about:

1. Guidelines for Submission
2. Abstract Deadline: February 18, 2011
3. Program Online
4. Program Search
5. Student Poster Session and Competition

1. Guidelines for Submission

We invite you to submit a paper to the INFORMS Northeastern Conference. Submissions can be made online on our Abstract Submission page found at: http://meetings.informs.org/RegionalNortheastern2011/Abstract-Submission. All attendees, including speakers and session chairs, must register and pay the registration fee. If you need an early confirmation for visa or budgetary reasons, please indicate this in the "Comments" field on the online form.

2. Abstract Deadline: February 18, 2011

Abstracts received by the submission deadline will receive preference in scheduling. We will continue to accept contributed abstracts after February 18 as long as space is available on the program. We encourage you to submit early.

3. Program Online

Once the preliminary program has been finalized and posted on the Web, all speakers will receive an e-mail directing them to the online program for the date and time of their presentation, registration info, A/V info, and other speaker guidelines. For further information on submitting papers, contact Les Servi or Tamas Terlaky.

4. Program Search

The online preliminary program will be updated regularly. You can search easily on keywords, authors, clusters, and sessions. You can also create a personalized itinerary. All meeting attendees will receive a printed copy of the final program at the meeting.

5. Student Poster Session and Competition

We strongly encourage undergraduate and graduate student participation in the conference. To spur this activity, we plan to hold a student poster session and competition.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the best three undergraduate and three best graduate posters which will be selected by a panel of judges. This is a great opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research and meet with OR/MS academics and practitioners from the region. Students pay a reduced registration fee.

Space for posters is limited; hence the organizing committee will evaluate abstracts based on clarity and content. Abstract submission for posters follows the same guidelines as for regular papers. Details about poster dimensions and availability of isles will follow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Professor who Loves to Bake and Give Out Cookies

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I engage in one of my favorite activities this time of year -- the baking and distribution of holiday cookies, with help from my daughter.

This year, thus far, we made a variety of delicious cookies from chocolate-dipped macaroons, to rum walnut balls, to butter sugar cookies in the shapes of holiday mittens, to cherry-decorated almond morsels, to start. The planning and completion of this major production involved numerous activities, from the shopping, to the preparation, to the grating, and the mixing, the baking, and the decorating.

I very much enjoy putting into practice what I teach for a living and just before Thanksgiving I covered the critical path method and project planning in one of my classes, which was perfectly timed.

The most fun of all is the assemblying of the plates with the cookies, which are festooned with colorful ribbons, along with a holiday card, and the delivery to our neighbors and friends.

In the photo above are some of the cookies that we baked over several shifts!

For photos of some of the delights from last year, click here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Road Trip to the Boston INFORMS Chapter Meeting

Yesterday, while many were starting their journeys home for the Thanksgiving holidays via plane, train, bus, or auto, a group of my students (graduate and even an undergraduate one) joined me in traveling to my talk at the Boston INFORMS Chapter meeting.

We hired a van from UMass Transit, which came with a terrific chauffer, named Andrew, who drove us from the Isenberg School via Route 2 to the venue for the meeting, Emptoris, which is in Burlington, MA. We met at 4PM and arrived at our destination, even with a pitstop, in less than 2 hours.

My host, Dr. Les Servi of the MITRE Corporation, greeted everyone with stacks of pizza and refreshments at the reception, which began at 6:30PM, introduced the Boston Chapter and highlighted its upcoming activities. We are very excited that UMass Amherst will be the site for the Regional INFORMS conference, which will take place May 5-6, 2011. Dr. Servi is a program co-chair of the conference and I have agreed to serve on the program committee. My colleague, Dr. Hari Balasubramanian of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass Amherst, is the conference chair. The tentative theme of the conference is: From Theory to Practice with the goal being of having 50-50 participation by industry practitioners and academics, which would be fantastic.

Dr. Servi and I go back to Brown University days, since we both received undergrad and Master's degrees in Applied Math there (he then went on to Harvard and I got my PhD at Brown) and we are very active members of the professional society INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences).

My presentation was entitled: "Supply Chain Networks: Challenges and Opportunities from Analysis to Design," and it may be downloaded (in pdf format) here. The presentation gave an overview of some of the exciting supply chain projects that we have been involved in with applications ranging from electric power supply chains in New England to healthcare supply chains for critical needs products, from vaccines to medicines, as well as blood supply chains.

It was terrific to mingle with the audience, which included practitioners from many different industries in the Boston area. I enjoyed talking with employees of Oracle, BAE Systems, and Fidelity Investments after my presentation. Time was too short, though, and Andrew, our driver, was waiting for us. We made it back safely to Amherst at 10:30PM.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why Small Gestures are Big and What Great Leaders Already Do and Know

It is always so interesting to observe and see how those in positions of "substance" behave and act, especially when it comes to those that they oversee or who may report to them.

I continue to be impressed by those who lead by example and -- who

  • take the time to write a nice note, which need not be on fancy stationery, or send a timely, enthusiastic and supporting email;
  • congratulate those who have achieved something special and do so publicly, which makes it even more special;
  • praise members of the organization for a job well-done;
  • show up to events even when bosses may not be there to take attendance;
  • do what should be done without extra financial compensation;
  • mentor and advocate for those less fortunate or without the "right" connections;
  • create opportunities that build up people and an organization rather than use tactics that "divide and destroy;"
  • add humor and spirit to daily interactions.
As people move up (and down) the hierarchies of various organizations, institutions, corporations, and even universities, great leaders are those that will be followed because they took the time to acknowledge others.

One cannot be successful by doing it alone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Looking Forward to Speaking at the Boston INFORMS Chapter on Supply Chain Networks

I will be speaking next Tuesday evening (right before the Thanksgiving rush) in the Boston INFORMS Chapter Speaker Series.

I am very much looking forward to giving my talk, Supply Chain Networks: Challenges and Opportunities from Analysis to Design. The talk will take place at Emptoris.

My hosts will be Dr. Les Servi of MITRE (a fellow Brown University alum with two degrees in Applied Math and a Harvard PhD and long-standing, very active member of INFORMS) and Dr. Olga Raskina of Emptoris (a Columbia University PhD).

More information on my talk and the venue is available here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebrating International Week and the New NSF Director on NPR

This week we are celebrating International Week at the Isenberg School and our atrium is festooned with flags of different countries as featured above.

There are also special activities planned this week to commemorate different countries and international experiences.

And today's Boston Globe is reporting that Massachusetts is one of the top states attracting international students for education, with Boston University, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, being the leading such universities within the state!

Speaking about international experiences, I very much enjoyed the interview on NPR by Ira Flatow with the new NSF Director, Dr. Subra Suresh. In the interview, the transcript of which is available here, Dr. Suresh said: I've been fortunate to have had the experiences that I've had, having been born abroad. And here is the basic truth related to that: Science has no borders, no boundaries, and science is nonpartisan. If you look at the United States, more than half of all the American Nobel laureates in the last 60 years were born abroad.

He also spoke about the importance of collaborations and in bringing different disciplines together to solve the most difficult problems whether in clean energy or transportation (I concur)!

The US continues to be a mecca for education but it is essential that researchers have the support necessary to make fundamental discoveries and breakthroughs. Research requires uninterrupted time for intense work and concentration.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Even Armadillos were at INFORMS in Texas

To give you a feeling (if you couldn't make it) of the scope of experiences that a conferee at the recent INFORMS Annual Meeting that took place in Austin, Texas may have had, I share with you some sights and sites above both in and outside of the conference center venue.

The photos above include snapshots of the Capitol building, the beautiful views on the River Walk, the fabulous keynote talks by Professors Ed Kaplan of Yale and John Birge of the University of Chicago and, yes, even armadillos, which took part in "races" at one of the evening conference receptions. That photo was provided by Professor Debra J. O'Connor of Holy Cross College (thank you)! I assume that the armadillos did not have to pay registration fees.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yalta Optimization Conference on Network Science Featured in The Ukrainian Weekly

I was very pleased to see that The Ukrainian Weekly ran a recent feature article on the Yalta Optimization Conference on Network Science that took place in Ukraine this past summer.

It was fascinating to visit the country of my first language and the birthplace of my parents. Although I was born in Canada, I did not learn English until my family immigrated to the US and I entered kindergarten.

The editor of The Ukrainian Weekly, Ms. Roma Hadzewycz, has given me permission to post the feature article on this terrific conference. The issues of this newspaper go online one year after print publication.

You may read the article, which is in pdf format, here. The photos therein are in black and white so I have included color versions above.

It was a privilege to deliver the first keynote lecture at this conference: Fragile Networks: Identifying Vulnerabilities and Synergies in an Uncertain Age.

You can read more about this wonderful conference and my travels and adventures in Yalta on my earlier blogposts.

Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences Keynotes at INFORMS

I'd like to thank Professors Alice Smith of Auburn University and Candi Yano of UC Berkeley for sharing their wisdom at the WORMS keynote session at the recent INFORMS Conference in Austin, Texas. Special thanks to Professor Sadan Kulturel-Konak of Penn State Berks for organizing this session!

Dr. Smith spoke on "Forging International Linkages of Women in OR Academia," whereas Dr. Yano's presentation was on: Lessons from the Lives of Women OR/MS "Veterans."

The photos above were taken at this session.

Both Dr. Smith and Dr. Yano are previous recipients of the WORMS Award.

One highlight from Dr. Smith's presentation -- she answers every request from an international student or scholar who emails her about information and has hosted visitors from Iraq, China, Turkey, and several other countries.

One highlight from Dr. Yano's talk -- the importance of mentors and advocates. One hears a lot about mentors but less about the importance of having advocates, which can clearly smooth one's professional life and advancement at every stage of one's career!

Although there was only one, shall I say, "official," female keynote speaker in the INFORMS conference program this WORMS session added to the portfolio of keynote female speakers!

I guess women have to be creative and proactive in order to get more of their voices heard and the WORMS community is leading the way!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Tribute to the Founder of Regional Science, Walter Isard

It has taken me a few days to come to terms that the founder of the field of Regional Science, Walter Isard, passed away last Saturday at the age of 91. I heard the sad news while at the INFORMS conference in Austin, Texas through a message from David E. Boyce who is not only an INFORMS Fellow but also a Regional Science Association International (RSAI) Fellow.

The Regional Science conference is now taking place in Denver, Colorado.

The New York Times ran an obituary on Professor Isard last Monday and Professor Boyce graciously prepared an obituary on the RSAI website.

There aren't many individuals today who can say that they established entirely new fields.

Professor Isard, you will always be remembered as a great scholar, humanitarian, and gentleman. Thank you for coming to my talk at Cornell University on April 1, 2009. Having you in the audience meant the world to me.

The middle and bottom photos above were taken at Cornell that day. In the middle photo joining me with Isard were Professors Kieran Donaghy, my kind host, and Sid Saltzman (the father of Matt Saltzman, who is well-known in INFORMS circles). In the bottom photo, in the background, is my collaborator, Professor June Dong of SUNY Oswego.

The top photo above was taken at the RSAI conference in November 2008 in Brooklyn. I am standing behind Isard who is seated between my two dear friends, Professors Manfred Fischer and David E. Boyce.

Photos of Great Times at INFORMS in Austin

One of the most enjoyable parts of any conference is reconnecting with friends in different locations around the country or the world.

In addition to the talks and events that one attends at any conference, it is important to find some time to chat and relax.

Above are photos taken at the INFORMS Austin, Texas conference of a group of us -- all with affiliations with the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, some as former doctoral students or present students -- some as faculty and some as Associates of the Virtual Center of Supernetworks.

There is nothing like getting together and engaging in face-to-face time between sessions and presentations and having a terrific time with a lot of laughter and great conversations!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Smashing Photos from Social Networking and Work and Life Balance Panels

While at the INFORMS Conference in Austin, Texas, November 7-10, 2010, I wrote blogposts on the social networking panel and the work and life balance panel that I very much enjoyed participating in.

Above I share with you some photos of the panelists as well as some of the audience members.

These panels took place on Sunday, November 7, the first one at 8:00AM and the last one at 4:30PM.

Isenberg Students and Faculty with the Magna Cum Laude Award

Last Tuesday morning the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter received the magna cum laude award at the INFORMS conference in Austin, Texas.

Joining me at the awards breakfast: Min Yu, a doctoral student at the Isenberg School of Management, who served as last year's chapter president, and two former chapter presidents, Drs. Patrick Qiang and Zugang "Leo" Liu, who are now faculty members at Pennsylvania State University campuses.

The above photos were taken at the awards breakfast on November 9, 2010. We were presented with the award by Dr. Burcu Keskin of the University of Alabama and Dr. John Fowler of Arizona State University.

It was a terrific event.

Photos from the Women in OR/MS Award Lunch in Austin, Texas

Above I share some photos with you taken at the Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences (WORMS) Awards Luncheon this past Tuesday at the INFORMS conference in Austin, Texas.

Congratulations to Dr. Brenda Dietrich of IBM for being awarded the WORMS award for 2010! Dr. Candi Yano of the University of California Berkeley chaired this year's award committee.

For previous winners please see the WORMS website.

This event is always one of my favorite ones at the annual INFORMS conference.

See how many individuals you recognize in the above photos.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Truly Terrific Tuesday at INFORMS in Austin, Texas

Today has been a truly terrific Tuesday at the INFORMS conference, which is taking place in Austin, Texas.

I have been taking part in this conference since Sunday that has attracted thousands of operations researchers and management scientists to this fascinating city.

Today, my day began with the Fora/Chapters Awards breakfast at which the INFORMS student chapter awards were given as well as the Judith Liebmane award, and the Moving Spirit award. Joining me at the table were Dr. Yupo Chan, Dr. Les Servi, and several past Presidents of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter that I serve as the Faculty Advisor of -- Drs. Patrick Qiang, Zugang "Leo" Liu, and Min Yu.

It was terrific to see so many student officers from chapters throughout the US in attendance as well as their Faculty Advisors plus members of the Subdivisions Council. A great breakfast was had by all with a lot of enthusiasm and cameraderie. Congrats to all the winners!

Then I attended a keynote talk by Professor John Birge of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He spoke on risk management and what went wrong in such disasters as the mortgage crisis, the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, and the BP oil disaster. He emphasized incentives and system and mechanism design and how the former, if constructed properly, may have prevented the ramifications and perhaps the occurrence of such catastrophic events. His talk reminded me that in transportation we already are providing incentives for travelers to change their selfish behavior in the form of tolls that enable the system-optimizing solutions to prevail!

The keynote was followed by a wonderful set of presentations by Dr. Alice Smith and Dr. Candi Yano who spoke in a WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences) session. Dr. Smith talked about international collaborations with rich graphics and stories about her personal experiences. Dr. Yano, in turn, had interviewed 6 senior/veteran females in OR/MS to extract their experiences and lessons learned from the trenches. Their talks were fabulous and there was a lot of interesting discussion.

Afterwards, one of my favorite events of an INFORMS conference took place -- the WORMS award luncheon at which Dr. Brenda Dietrich of IBM received the award for 2010. She was also elected an INFORMS Fellow this year. The luncheon of salmon and risotto with vegetables and salad was delicious and was finished off by a multitiered chocolate, mocha torte. Joining me at the table were several former doctoral students of mine from the Isenberg School at UMass Amherst who are now professors and even a former undergrad from UMass Amherst who is now at NSF.

This has been a fabulous conference for seeing so many friends and colleagues.

Tonight is the general reception, which should be another great networking and reconnecting event.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Work and Life Balance Panel at INFORMS in Austin

In my previous post I wrote about the social networking panel that I was on yesterday morning at the INFORMS Conference that is taking place in Austin, Texas and provided some highlights of the discussions that took place. Thanks to Professor Laura McLay for organizing it!

My day "ended" yesterday by being on the Work and Life Balance panel at the conference which was organized by the JFIG and WORMS groups and spearheaded by Professors Sadan Kulturel-Konak and Burcu Keskin.

Joining me on the panel were: Professors Marty Wortman of Texas A&M, Larry Seiford of the University of Michigan, Professor Cindy Barnhart of MIT, and Ariela Sofer of George Mason University.

Some advice offered by the panelists:

Time management is extremely important but different people react differently to deadlines and managing stress so you should know what works best for you.

Throw money at the problem, if you can, from getting household help, to babysitters, etc.

Advocate at your university/college if it does not have proactive policies to support having children, etc. Work with the administration, other groups, and a faculty union, if relevant.

Rather than work and life "balance" it is more about "integration." One should have one's priorities, make lists, if that helps, and spend time on what matters to you. You should think of not only how to best allocate your scarce resources of time but also how to minimize regret. Spending time with your family is very important.

In terms of additional professional advice to junior faculty, do concentrate on research and prepare your teaching ahead of time. You can't afford to have a few years pass by without any research output and publications.

Make sure that you have single=authored papers before you are up for promotion and tenure.

Do enjoy the process -- our lives as academics are very full and take advantage of support networks!

Plus, go to conferences -- exchange ideas and meet new colleagues and make new friends!

Professor McLay who was in the audience for this panel was pleased that there were quite a few males attending this panel session. In contrast, and as we had noticed at our morning panel, there were only males in our social networking panel in the audience. Time for more females in technical areas to be blogging!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On Social Networking Panel at INFORMS in Austin, Texas

This morning the Social Networking and Operations Research panel took place at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

The panel was organized by Professor Laura McLay of Virginia Commonwealth University and joining me on the panel were: Professors Wayne Winston of Indiana University, Mike Trick of Carnegie Mellon University, and Auriele Thiele of Lehigh University.

The panelists first introduced themselves and discussed briefly their blogs and social networking experiences. Then McLay led the Q&A with the panelists with further give and take with the audience. The audience was terrific and very international -- thanks for showing up to this 8AM session!

Some of the questions that were discussed (and would merit further give and take):

Which have been your most successful/popular posts and what do you attribute their popularity to?

How do you handle rude/inappropriate/negative comments?

How do you manage the time involved in preparing your blogposts?

How have your experiences with social networking tools evolved over the years? What do you see happening with social networking over the next couple of years? Are there new business models and innovations that you can foresee that may be successful? How can operations research help with new business models in this area?

How does one establish credibility on the blogosphere?

The session was recorded and if it gets posted, I will let you know.

In the meantime, some of the highlights and insights:

1. Blogging is an enjoyable activity if you like to write and comment (it need not take much time but it takes a while to draw an audience and you need to do it regularly, just like exercise, I might add).

2. It is a terrific way in which to get news out and to get discussions going in our discipline.

3. There is room for longer posts (and links to essays and white papers) and at the other extreme Twitter with the latter a good way in which to get timely news and info out quickly.

4. Writing about people, issues, and activities (including sports and related figures and events) seems to increase the audience for your writings.

5. Providing careful analysis in your posts can increase one's credibility.

6. Social networking tools are a great way in which to draw students into operations research and the management sciences.

7. We are not journalists but journalists do draw information from blogs.

8. Increasingly, administrators and public relations and communications officers of colleges and universities are looking favorably on bloggers at their institutions.

This was a very enjoyable panel and a great way in which to begin the INFORMS conference.

The weather here in Austin, Texas is sunny and gloriously mild!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Supernetwork Center Associates at INFORMS in Austin, Texas

Nine of the Supernetwork Center Associates will be presenting papers at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, November 7-10, 2010 so we will be having a very special reunion.

Dr. Tina Wakolbinger of the University of Memphis will be chairing the session: Decision-Making in Nonprofit Organizations in which she will present a co-authored paper, "Collaborative Information Sharing in Humanitarian Supply Chains." In that session, my doctoral student, Min Yu, will present a paper co-authored with Dr. Patrick Qiang of Pennsylvania State University Malvern and me entitled, " Supply Chain Network Design for Critical Needs with Outsourcing." This paper is now in press in Papers in Regional Science.

Dr. Jose Cruz of the University of Connecticut will be chairing the session: Sustainable and Responsible Supply Chain Management in which he will deliver the paper, "Mitigating Global Supply Chain Risks through Corporate Social Responsibility." In the same session, Dr. Zugang Liu of Pennsylvania State University at Hazleton will speak on, "Consumer Environmental Awareness and Competition in Two-Stage Supply Chains," co-authored with Dr. Cruz and Dr. Trisha Woolley (now Anderson).

Dr. Woolley Anderson will present the paper, co-authored with me, "Environmental and Cost Synergy in Supply Chain Network Integration in Mergers and Acquisitions." This paper was published in Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems, Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Multiple Criteria Decision Making, Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems, M. Ehrgott, B. Naujoks, T. Stewart, and J. Wallenius, Editors, Springer, Berlin, Germany (2010) pp 51-78.

I will be presenting, "Supply Chain Network Design under Profit Maximization and Oligopolistic Competition," in a session on Risk Management organized by Dr. Jussi Keppo and Dr. Jie Ning of the University of Michigan. This paper was published recently in the journal Transportation Research E.

Dr. Patrick Qiang will present our joint paper, "A Bi-criteria Measure to Assess Supply Chain Network Performance for Critical Needs," in the session on Disruptive Event Management.

And Dr. Dmytro Matsypura will be traveling all the way from Sydney, Australia, where he holds the position of tenured lecturer at the University of Sydney to present the co-authored paper, "Margining Option Portfolios by Offsets with Two, Three, and Four Legs" in a Financial Engineering session.

In addition, Center Associate Dr. Padma Ramanujam of SAS Inc. will also be joining us at INFORMS in Austin, Texas.

I will be posting our presentations, as they become available, on the Visuals Page of the Supernetworks Center website.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fantastic News for the Isenberg School and Reasons to Celebrate

Today we celebrated at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. The day was filled with a special panel at the Mullins Center and a reception in our atrium to recognize the unprecedented gift of the McCormack family to our sports management department, which will now carry the McCormack name.

The vast archival collection of Mark H. McCormack, the creator of the sport management and marketing industry, and founder of the International Management Group, now IMG, will be housed at UMass Amherst, providing truly unique opportunities for research and education in the field.

This gift was made possible through the careful nurturing of the relationships with the family by the chair of the sports management department, my colleague, Professor Lisa Masteralexis, with support from our Dean, Dr. Mark Fuller.

As we were told, there are 48,000 boxes of correspondence and documents to study. Arnold Palmer was IMG's first client and others included such renowned sports figures as Chris Evert, Jean-Claude Killy, and, of course, Derek Jeter. McCormack wrote numerous books, including the bestselling What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, which spent 21 consecutive weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Terrible Truth About Lawyers.

UMass Amherst issued a press release on our acquisition of the historic collection in sports.

In addition to the remarkable value of the McCormack Collection itself, the McCormack family has made a $1.5 million gift to endow educational programs:

• The Mark H. McCormack Executive-in-Residence Program will bring sport industry executives to campus to mentor and share their knowledge and experience with students. While on campus, the executives will be interviewed by the library and department for an oral history project on the concept of innovation in the sport industry.

• The Mark H. McCormack International Partnership Program will support collaboration in sport management education across the globe and will support faculty and student travel..

The panel of McCormack family members spoke of the legacy of Mr. McCormack and responded to specific questions that the students had.

I was very impressed by the "pearls of wisdom" provided by the McCormack family panelists, who included his children and his wife. They noted that their father every day wrote dozens of letters and memos and carefully nurtured relationships and people. He never threw away a resume and was always seeking bright, new minds. His children helped to build up IMG as a major global brand and enjoyed their assignments in London, Sydney, and even years in Hong Kong. They emphasized the importance of trust, service, and taking care of their clients, some of whom (in particular, the tennis stars) came under their care when they were quite young. They also emphasized the importance of studying foreign languages, something I definitely concur with. McCormack's daughter spoke about how she majored in French and because of her knowledge of that language helped to get the Olympic skier, Jean-Claude Killy, as a client.

The panelists also noted that McCormack was perhaps the first promulgator of reality TV in that he brought together sports celebrities to compete in various challenging events from obstacle courses on. He was outstanding in identifying "events" and in organizing them, emphasizing also the spectator experience.

Today was a very special day with the dawn of a new era for the Isenberg School and the legacy of an outstanding individual and businessman. Even The Boston Globe is covering this major news story. For coverage on cnbc.com on Sports-Biz click here.

Thank you, Governor Deval Patrick, and Congratulations!

My husband and I voted yesterday in our local fire station and saw a lot of our neighbors. Those neighbors who were out of the country submitted their votes through absentee ballots.

Our daughter wanted to come with us and enjoyed all the "hi's!" and "hello's" plus the "we thought you were too young to vote!" comments. The latter is true but she is so engaged in what is happening locally and globally and is very interested in politics, so she came with us.

The returns are now in and the state of Massachusetts has reelected Deval Patrick, who will be serving our Commonwealth as Governor for another 4 years!

His words below from The Boston Globe capture eloquently how many of us feel:

We go back to work in service of a brighter and better Commonwealth, a better future for those who voted for us and those who did not alike. We must be, all of us, about lifting the whole Commonwealth up, not tearing anyone down, and modeling for a nation hungry for something positive to believe in that we are, once again, the center, the leader for this country.

Indeed, with all the bullying that we observe and read and hear about, is it not time to be positive, to be building, and not tearing anyone down?!

Our country needs positivity and uplifting economically, emotionally, and maybe even spiritually, desperately.

Our Governor understands Massachusetts and its role in education and high technology. He was instrumental in making the dream of a High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts a reality and supports public education at all levels. He realizes that the state of Massachusetts includes cities and towns west of Worcester and comes to western MA regularly.

I had a former boss, who will remain nameless, who enjoyed pushing others down, and every time that he tried again to make my job and life difficult I would say to myself: I am like a spring and the more he pushes me down the higher I will bounce up. His career is now over.

The people of Massachusetts can look forward to four more years of innovation and creativity and having the guts and courage to do what is needed for the citizenry and the Commonwealth!

Massachusetts is definitely one of the best states in the union!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Social Networking through Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Beyond

The INFORMS Annual Meeting begins soon in Austin, Texas and I am so looking forward to reconnecting with former students and seeing colleagues from around the globe! I am also very much looking forward to giving presentations, listening to the latest research, taking part in several business meetings and award ceremonies, and to simply enjoying the various social and special professional events.

The conference will begin, for me, next Sunday morning when I take part in a panel on Social Networking and Operations Research that was organized by my fellow blogger and very dynamic colleague, Professor Laura McLay of the Virginia Commonwealth University, as part of a cluster of panels organized by the super-blogger and promoter of Operations Research, Professor Mike Trick of Carnegie Mellon University! Joining me on the panel will be Professor Wayne Winston of Indiana University and Professor Aurelie Thiele of Lehigh University.

We will share our experiences with social networking tools from blogs to Facebook and Twitter with Q&A from the audience, led by Professor McLay. I am certain that the discussions will be very interesting and illuminating, so join us, if you can!

Professor Trick has promised to cover the panel discussions on his blog and to tweet about them as well

Hope to see many of you at INFORMS in Texas next week where the weather is much milder than in Amherst, Massachusetts!

Time-Sensitive Products, Cost, and Cargo Security

Freight as the Weakest Link in the Chain was the title of my blogpost the other day and I see that today's New York Times has an article: In Air Cargo Business, It's Speed vs. Screening, Creating a Wink Link in Security.

The article focuses on time-sensitive products, a topic that we have conducted a lot of research on from fashion supply chains (not a life or death application but clothing is a basic right) to blood supply chains (another fascinating topic of research that we are completing a study on).

The Times article has several quotes from Professor Yossi Sheffi, a colleague of mine in transportation and logistics at MIT, whose center I visited when I held an NSF Faculty Award for Women.

Sheffi says: “You cannot stop the flow of time-sensitive air freight,” and “It is simply not realistic.” Professor Sheffi is the author of the book, Urban Transportation Networks, which is one of the books that I recommend to my students in the Transportation & Logistics course that I am instructing with help from my two wonderful Teaching Assistants, Nathan Kollett and Min Yu, who are doctoral students in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management. Sheffi is also the author of The Resilient Enterprise.

Freight is a critical link in our global supply chains that produce and distribute products around the world. Hence, their security and viability are essential to our connected enterprises.

The air cargo system is built into the way many companies do business. However, the way that cargo is packed also makes it difficult to inspect, from special packaging, such as shrink-wrapping, which may provide exemption from inspections.

We are in an era of Fragile Networks in which multicriteria decision-making needs to be the norm for decision-making coupled with the identification of vulnerabilities and potential synergies in business.