Sunday, January 8, 2012

Operations Research Tutorials from Sports Scheduling to Black Swans and Severe Uncertainty, Fragile Networks, and Humanitarian Logistics

The two volume edition of the International Transactions in Operational Research (ITOR) is now available and just in time (see the Table of Contents above). The January-March 2012 double volume is a refereed compendium of papers, edited by Celso Ribeiro and Irene Loiseau, and is based on tutorials given at the ALIO-INFORMS meeting that took place in glorious Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 6-9, 2010.

I am using two of the tutorial papers in my new course, Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare, that I am teaching this coming term at the Isenberg School of Management. The syllabus is available online.

These papers are: Using OR to adapt supply chain management best practices to humanitarian logistics (pages 307–322) by Luk N. Van Wassenhove and Alfonso J. Pedraza Martinez, and the paper that I co-authored with Q. Qiang: Fragile networks: identifying vulnerabilities and synergies in an uncertain age (pages 123–160).

I have also read several other tutorials in this volume including the very intriguing one by M. Sniedovich,
Black Swans, New Nostradamuses, Voodoo decision theories, and the science of decision making in the face of severe uncertainty (pages 253–281). In his tutorial paper, Sniedovich has quotes from Nassim Taleb, who not only is a best-selling author, much quoted in the Wall Street Journal, but also had a faculty appointment in my department at the Isenberg School for a period of time. Indeed, Taleb's published papers that year were included in our Research Beat of 2005 (along with those of other faculty) and he even published with Emanuel Derman of Columbia, who is the featured interviewee in the most recent INFORMS podcast with Barry List!

Sniedovich cites the book, Algorithms for Worst-Case Design and Applications to Risk Management, by Rustem and Howe, published by Princeton University Press. In addition, he cites the book Minimax and Applications by Du and Pardalos, and published by Springer. Coincidentally, I know both Berc Rustem and Panos Pardalos well and they were among the invited speakers in the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Workshop on Humanitarian Logistics: Networks for Africa that I organized and that took place in May 2008.

I had the pleasure of attending several of the tutorials at the ALIO-INFORMS conference, including Celso Ribeiro's one on sports scheduling (with a focus on soccer, which was perfect since the World Cup was just beginning) and, of course, I was there to give the tutorial on Fragile Networks (the theme of my book with Q. Qiang). My tutorial can be accessed in part I, part II, and part III.

For photos taken at the conference, including several of the tutorial givers, see this post on this blog and this one.

I tried to capture some of the magic of this historical city in other photos as well.