Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Will be Blogging from Sweden

Tomorrow I am flying to Gothenburg, Sweden where I will continue my faculty appointment as a Visiting Professor of Operations Management at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

I am very much looking forward to being back at the university that I spent two weeks at back in March.

On June 14, I will be giving a commencement speech there to those receiving Masters degrees form the School of Business, Economics and Law.

I have been working very hard on my speech and am putting the finishing touches on it.

Having heard various commencement speeches recently at graduations at UMass Amherst, including the special Isenberg School of Management one,  and at Deerfield Academy, just this past Sunday,  I have been enveloped by the spirit of graduations and the accomplishments of the graduates.

I will be blogging from Sweden over the next few weeks.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Best Deerfield Academy Graduation Ever with a Suprise Appearance of a President

The 2012 Deerfield Academy graduation that took place today at which 198 students graduated was magical -- from the bagpiper to the colonial fyfe and drum corps to the pomp and circumstance.

The female graduates were resplendent in their white dresses and carried yellow roses with the male graduates all in navy blazers and ties.All the other students also took part in the ceremonies.

A special wish was granted at the graduation through the Make a Wish Foundation -- one of the graduates has been battling bran cancer and former President Bill Clinton granted his wish by speaking in a videotape to the class.You may view his speech on youtube here.

Congratulations to the class of 2012 for all of your achievements -- academic, athletic, artistic, personal, and community-wise. Special congrats to the 26 cum laude society members -- an amazing group  of high achievers in a class with special charisma, enthusiasm, and energy. I couldn't be prouder of my daughter and her fellow graduates.

As one of the speakers said -- the friendships made will last a lifetime.

Thanks for all the wonderful memories! With best wishes to the class of 2012!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Latest News from the Supernetworks Center

The 2012 Summer edition of The Supernetwork Sentinel, the newsletter of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, that I founded almost 11 years ago,  is now online.

It has been an amazing couple of months, with presentations given around the world, new grants awarded and research and teaching accolades received by the Center Associates.

I sometimes wonder how we manage to accomplish as much as we do -- clearly, we have a passion for what we do and we have a great team that enjoys collaborating and working together.

All of our newsletters can be found on this page.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So Cool to Have Our NSF-Sponsored Research Cited in Granted Patents

Published research and scholarship can be recognized in different ways -- through subsequent citations, the awards and recognitions that may follow, through applications and use in the real world, and through the inspiration of innovations as exemplified through patents.

I have never personally applied for a patent but, had I stayed in industry, I am sure that, by now, I would have.

However, today, while actually digging further into the background on a very provocative article, "Troves of Personal Data, Forbidden to Researchers," by John Markoff  in yesterday's New York Times, in which names of several colleagues that I know quite well:, Bernardo Huberman of HP, Barabasi of Northeastern, Hal Varian, now of Google, and Alex Pentland of MIT's Media Lab, I came upon some recently granted patents.

The inventor of these patents is Dr. Daniel Palestrant. He is an MD so I defer to him and call him Dr. and he is also an entrepreneur as the founder of Sermo and Par80. The three patents that he has been granted cite two papers that I co-authored (all with females) on an earlier National Science Foundation grant: Decentralized  Decision Making in Complex Network Systems. My Co-PIs on this grant were June Dong and Pat Mokhtarian. The grant also supported the research of my then doctoral student, Tina Wakolbinger.

Our papers that are cited in the 3 patents are:

Multicriteria network equilibrium modeling with variable weights for decision-making in the Information Age with applications to telecommuting and teleshopping (with J. Dong and P. L. Mokhtarian) (2002), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 26, 1629-1650 


Dynamic supernetworks for the integration of social networks and supply chains with electronic commerce: Modeling and analysis of buyer-seller relationships with computations (with T. Wakolbinger) (2004), Netnomics, 6, 153-185.

And, Dr. Palestrant also cites the work of Varian and Barabasi in these patents, as well as several others who have contributed to network science!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Terrific Interview with Nobel Laureate Harry Markowitz Who Almost Did Not Pass His Dissertation Defense

With finance dominating so much of the business news today, one can't help but appreciate the classics in finance and their originators.

The interview in yesterday's New York Times, by Jeff Sommer with Harry Markowitz, the creator of modern portfolio theory, and the 1990 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, along with William Sharpe and Merton Miller, was not only timely but showed how truly original ideas may, at first, not be accepted.

In the interview, it was noted that when  Markowitz defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago — a treatise on portfolio theory — Milton Friedman (also a Nobel laureate) raised a disturbing objection. Portfolio theory wasn’t economics, Friedman said, and the university couldn’t grant a degree in economics based on it. A few minutes later, Markowitz learned that he would receive his degree after all, but he endured some nervous moments. Years later, Friedman clarified his position somewhat, telling Mr. Markowitz that while he was startled by his student’s novel approach, he was kidding about not granting the doctorate. “Harry, you know we don’t flunk anybody at that late stage,” Mr. Friedman told him. 

Now, Mr. Markowitz says: “It’s possible he really didn’t think it was economics. It’s O.K. At the time it was not economics — but now it certainly is.”

I recall meeting Professor Markowitz in the elevator of a hotel at an INFORMS conference and marveled at his stature -- physical, and otherwise, and was awestruck. He became an INFORMS Fellow in 2002, along with the Nobel laureate John Nash and Kenneth Arrow, as well as many luminaries in operations research and management sciences.

 As  noted in the interview, Markowitz's contributions to portfolio selection are as relevant in the Facebook era as they were over half a century ago, although they are better understood and appreciated today. I also think that it is important to point out all of the algorithmic advances, from quadratic programming to network optimization and even variational inequality algorithms for financial equilibrium models, that have been advanced because of his seminal ideas and work. 

His work has inspired so much research and practice and has led to fundamental insights whose richness has survived over half a century. Finance, from a financial networks perspective, has always fascinated me and I am privileged to be in the  Department of Finance and Operations Management at the Isenberg School of Management. I was lucky to have had a great doctoral student, Stavros Siokos, whose passion for finance, networks, and engineering, enabled us to co-author the Financial Networks book published back in 1997. Stavros' professional success in the financial industry demonstrates the synergies among finance, economics, and optimization and, of course, operations research and management science.

Three years ago, I taught a short course on Portfolio Optimization at Harvard University and, of course, I recognized the fundamental importance and  elegance of Markowitz's work.

I wonder how the financial landscape would have changed if Markowitz's dissertation had not been approved!

For those of you interested and conducting research on financial networks, I am editing a special issue on the topic for the journal Computational Management Science.

The call for papers has been circulating and my colleague, Nikunj Kapadia, who is now on leave at the Office of Financial Research in Washington DC, sent me a message stating:

News of your special issue is going around at the OFR! It is of great interest to us here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

They Came from New Delhi, London, NYC, and Even Boston for the MBA Reunion at the Isenberg School

Today, I had a wonderful time getting together with some of our Isenberg School MBA graduates who were at our school for a reunion.

Some had graduated only a few years ago, whereas others had graduated 25 years ago and several 50 years ago. I attended the reception this morning in their honor in our lovely atrium.
What fun it was to reminisce with those in attendance. A group that had had me in the MBA Management Science class and the MIS class that I used to teach flew in from New Delhi and one of my former students, who was in the first class that I ever taught after receiving my PhD and who is now an executive at Ford, flew in from Michigan. They remembered that my classes were tough and that they had to use a lot of math to solve problems in the Management Science class with the critical thinking and analytical skills being useful throughout their careers.

What could be more fun than recapturing those memories of one's student days (and also the early days for me as a new professor and teacher).

From high tech to banking and financial services to even fashion and manufacturing -- the attendees regaled me with stories of their professional successes.

One MBA graduate of our program and reunion attendee told me that he was happiest when he was at UMass Amherst -- needless to say that, as an educator, his comment brought a huge smile to my face.

Another one shared with me how he considers himself to be a true survivor and that "he is still in the game" and he was entertaining and interesting as ever

More information on today's activities can be found here.

The Celebrations Continue

Some of the college commencements are now over with and some will still be soon taking place but the celebrations continue.

This past week, after the spectacular UMass Amherst and Isenberg School of Management graduations, we also celebrated on a more intimate scale and took out to dinner one of my doctoral students, who is now Dr. Min Yu, and who will soon be Professor Min Yu, and her parents, who had traveled all the way from China (and her uncle did as well) to see her receive her PhD.

It was the dream of Min's grandfather, who is now in his 90s, that one of his family members would receive a PhD in the US and Min has achieved his dream. Min's parents brought me gifts in stunning packaging that they brought from China.

The card and letter from Min I have already posted in my office.

Following our celebratory dinner (not in one of Amherst's terrific Chinese restaurants but, rather, in the Persian restaurant, Moti, which Min had selected), we walked around downtown Amherst and Amherst College where the photo below was taken.
Next week I will also be assuming the role of proud Mom (in addition to being a very proud Academic Mom) when my daughter, Alexandra, graduates from Deerfield Academy, where there will also be pomp and circumstance. For those who would like to get a sense of  such a graduation, I have posted photos from previous graduations.

Congratulations to all the graduates of 2012 and to their family members and friends.

I do think that this generation will change the world for the better!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bullying in Academia Must Stop

I have been reading Nicholas Kristof's excellent columns in The New York Times, including the ones that he has written about bullying. He has also posted a link to essays that teenagers have written on their experiences with bullying.

Sad to say that, even in the bastions of the "ivory" towers of academia and higher education, bullying exists.

It exists where "rules of the game" are changed after students matriculate, including those for doctoral students, especially when females are involved.

It exists where females' initiatives are discounted and ridiculed.

It exists where, time and time again, those most qualified are never given chances or opportunities for appointments to administrative posts, if desired.

It exists where achievements are not acknowledged or are belittled by one's academic administrators.

It exists where and when  activities and newsletters are removed from academic websites since "this is not a departmental activity," despite such documents having been on the website for over half a decade.

It exists when and where females' comments and suggestions are summarily rejected in public emails.

It exists where females are publicly, through an email, "immediately" fired from an administrative post, without prior notification, with the sole justification afterwards being that a junior male colleague needed to up his record of service for promotion and tenure.

It exists where one's request for maternity leave, in some form or fashion, is not responded to, until a few days before she gives birth, and then a few weeks after she is teaching her class from her home.

It exists where females have been asked to teach extra courses without any added compensation and have felt "obligated" to do so.

It exists where only the "chosen few" get to teach extra courses online at much added compensation.

I could go on, but will stop here.

The ivory tower is crumbling.

All the above have happened to me, some very recently,  and I am a Chaired Professor at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and valued sufficiently by the College of Engineering to also have appointments in two different departments there.

And one wonders why  are there so few females going into technical fields and rising through the ranks of academia?

At least we have our research to support us and our students and collaborators as well as friends and family members. Ultimately, it will be the research that you did and the positive influence that you have had on others that you will leave as your mark.

So, write those essays, write those papers, and write those books. Do the best work that you are capable of and mentor others and when the accolades come, and they will, if you work hard, know that you have made a difference.

Also, in whatever manner that you can, do speak out and I am doing so with this blogpost.

Just a week ago, I received a survey on bullying to fill out anonymously at UMass Amherst. Perhaps someone is starting to notice.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New President of MIT is its Provost

Congrats to the new President of MIT!

According to the MIT News Office:

L. Rafael Reif, a distinguished electrical engineer whose seven-year tenure as MIT's provost has helped MIT maintain its appetite for bold action as well as its firm financial footing, has been selected as the 17th president of the Institute.

Reif, 61, was elected to the post this morning by a vote of the MIT Corporation. He will assume the MIT presidency on July 2, 2012.

As the Institute's chief academic officer since 2005, Reif led the design and implementation of the strategy that allowed MIT to weather the global financial crisis; drove the growth of MIT's global strategy; promoted a major faculty-led effort to address challenges around race and diversity; helped foster the emergence of an innovation cluster adjacent to MIT in Kendall Square; led the development of MITx, the Institute's new initiative in online learning; and led MIT's role in the formation of edX, the recently announced partnership between MIT and Harvard University that builds on MITx and that aims to enrich residential education while bringing online learning to great numbers of people around the world.

Reif has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1980 and is currently the Fariborz Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technology in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He succeeds Susan Hockfield, who announced earlier this year that she would step down after more than seven years as MIT's president.

More info is on MIT News.

Susan Hockfield was the first female to lead MIT.

Having spent two years at MIT,  in the Transportation Systems Division under the sponsorship of a National Science Foundation Visiting Professorship for Women, and at the Sloan School of Management under a (now-called) Conti Faculty Fellowship from UMass Amherst, I wish this institution well. I have good colleagues and friends there and a neighbor's son will be a freshman there as of Fall 2012.

Remembering Professor John M. Quigley of UC Berkeley

The sad news reached me during a time when we celebrate many college graduations and other milestones.

John M. Quigley, a renowned urban economist and regional scientist, passed away last Saturday, May 12, 2012.

The news reached me via David E. Boyce, both an INFORMS Fellow and an RSAI Fellow.

The Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley issued a statement on his passing, and Ed Glaeser of Harvard University wrote the following column for Bloomberg on Quigley's outstanding contributions to the understanding of housing and its pricing, "An Economist Who Changed the Way We Think About Housing." in which he also noted the important role that Quigley played in mentoring young scholars.

I couldn't agree more.

As a relatively fresh PhD, I published both co-authored (with Stella Dafermos) and single-authored papers in the journal, Regional Science and Urban Economics, on spatial competition and oligopolies and just this morning I was working on a draft of a paper  that cites the paper published therein with Dafermos in 1987, which, in my opinion, contains some of the very first ideas that are relevant supply chain network competition. John Quigley was then the Editor in Chief of this journal.

In addition, David E. Boyce wrote in a message, reprinted below, that went out to RSAI Fellows today:

It seems appropriate to mention at this time John's role in establishing the RSAI Fellows Award. On November 7, 2000, I sent a letter to Geoffrey Hewings, then President of RSAI, proposing the establishment of a Fellows Award for our association. I did not discuss the proposal, or argue for its implementation, but only asked that it be presented to the RSAI Council for discussion.

As I recall, one member of the Council especially liked this idea, drafted a resolution for its implementation, and lobbied for its adoption. That person, of course, was John Quigley. We all have John to thank for whatever recognition we have received as RSAI Fellows.

John received the RSAI Fellows Award in 2004, the third group of scholars to be so honored.

David Boyce

We were honored to have known John M. Quigley. He will be missed.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day with a Bouquet of Flowers

The gorgeous bouquet of pink roses above was delivered by Fedex and came from one of my nieces in Rhode Island -- thank you!

I thought it fitting to share the photo of the beautiful flowers to thank all of the women who have supported one another as mothers. I also wanted to thank all the faculty moms, who have nurtured generations of students.

Thanks to all the great mothers out there -- where would civilizations be without you?

May your hard work, dedication, and selflessness in all of your endeavors give you great pride and satisfaction and may your children make you proud.

Happy Mother's Day to women around the globe!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Isenberg Graduation Was Fabulous as Were the Shoes that They Wore

In my previous post, I wrote about the graduate ceremonies at UMass Amherst that took place yesterday and posted a lot of photos.

This morning, I was back at the Mullins Center to take part, with over 1,000 of our graduating seniors, in the Isenberg School of Management 2012 ceremonies. Even Gene Isenberg, after whom our business school is named, was in attendance and sat in the front row.

I enjoy the special Isenberg graduation that takes place every May and this year was no exception.

The attendance was spectacular and I could not resist taking also some photos of the shoes that the graduates wore and noone toppled over descending the stairs (and, luckily, that includes the faculty). The distinctive shoes added a lot of color and style to the black robes of the graduates.

The faculty associated with each major lined up to shake the hands of the graduates with the major.

Kyle Lawless, a graduating senior, was the commencement speaker and should be invited back every year to give the commencement speech. He will be working for Ernst & Young.

He thanked his professors and singled out several professors that he had had and what he learned from them:

From Professor Dick Simpson, our esteemed accounting professor, who was still teaching this past year at the age of 77 (his 45th year of teaching) he learned that, whatever you do, it should be something that you love to do; from Professor Mike Whiteman, also an accounting professor who is retiring this year, he learned that you should be kind and nice to everyone, and from Professor Richard Rodgers, who is in Resource Economics, besides learning statistics from him, Kyle learned the importance of treasuring your family members and friends. Professor Rodgers told the class that he would give up his PhD and all of his publications to be able to have one more bike ride with his father.

The class of 2012 is amazing -- we wish you all much happiness and success -- you will be missed!

Thanks for the handshakes and the hugs!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Photos from the Spectacular UMass Amherst Graduate Ceremonies

The day could not have been more perfect with the sun shining, flowering trees blooming,  and with gentle breezes.

Families and friends traveled from across the globe to celebrate with those who received the PhDs and Masters degrees at the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst today.

I very much enjoyed hearing our Chancellor's wonderful speech as well as the speech of the honorary degree recipient -- Mark E. Russell of Raytheon who spoke of persistence in one's endeavors  and in doing great, sustained  work so that you earn trust. I also very much appreciated him highlighting the terrific work that the NSF Engineering Research Center CASA is doing (and I sat next to its Director, Dr. David McLaughlin) in designing radars for extreme weather prediction, including tornadoes. There is a nice writeup about the graduate ceremony here.

The ceremony flowed smoothly and the pageantry was spectacular.

I especially wish to congratulate my PhD student who became Dr. Min Yu today and whose family traveled from China to recognize her and to celebrate with her. Congrats also to Dr. Davit Kachatryan who came from DC to march in the ceremonies. He had received his PhD a while back but came today since he promised his family that he would march.

Several of our doctoral students in Management Science, in Organizational Behavior, and in Strategic Management, and Finance, at the Isenberg School, came out to support the graduates (and to get a sense of what it will be like when they receive their PhD degrees). Special thanks to my doctoral students, Dong "Michelle" Li and Amir Masoumi, for taking numerous photos today.

Congratulations to all the graduate degree recipients. Your hard work and scholarship were recognized today.

With best wishes for very successful, satisfying,  and worthwhile professional careers!

Tomorrow I will be back at the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst to take part in the Isenberg School of Management undergraduate graduation ceremonies.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Looking Forward to the UMass and Isenberg School Graduations

Tomorrow and Saturday the town of Amherst will be buzzing with multiple graduation ceremonies, beginning with the graduate and undergraduate commencements at UMass Amherst tomorrow morning and afternoon, respectively.

On Saturday morning, the Isenberg School of Management will also be honoring its graduating undergraduates in a special ceremony.

The legendary journalist, Ted Koppel, will be receiving an honorary degree tomorrow. Also, Eugene Isenberg, after whom our School of Management is named, will be receiving a special award for his philanthropy.

I am very much looking forward to these events-- tomorrow morning one of my doctoral students, Min Yu, will be receiving her doctorate diploma and several of her family members have already arrived from China for this very special occasion. I also will be sending off the Isenberg School of Management undergraduates, especially our Operations Management majors.

There is a very nice writeup In the Loop on those being honored at commencement ceremonies.

Congratulations to all those receiving their diplomas as well as to their families!

Next month, I will be giving a commencement speech at Gothenburg University to those receiving Masters degrees from the School of Business, Economics and Law. I received an outline of the associated ceremonies, which include a lunch and end with strawberries and sparkling wine.

I have started working on my commencement speech. This will be a special experience.

I have given a commencement speech earlier, but it was to students graduating from the Isenberg School and their guests.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Critical Needs Supply Chains Under Capacity and Demand Disruptions

The special issue of Transportation Research A on the theme of Network Vulnerability in Large Scale Transport Networks, edited by Michael A.P. Taylor, is now published.

Our paper, "A bi-criteria indicator to assess supply chain network performance for critical needs under capacity and demand disruptions," Patrick Qiang and Anna Nagurney, appears in this issue, which is volume 46 (5), June 2012.

This paper was also highlighted in a newsletter of  the OR Society (thanks). Patrick is a faculty member at the Graduate School of Professional Studies at Penn State University Malvern and I am at the Isenberg School at UMass Amherst.

In this paper, we developed a supply chain network model for critical needs products, which captures disruptions in capacities associated with the various supply chain activities of production, transportation, and storage, as well as those associated with the demands for the product at the various demand points. Critical needs products may be defined as those products and supplies that are essential to human health and life. Examples include food, water, medicines, and vaccines. The demand for critical needs is always present and, hence, the disruption to the production, storage, transportation/distribution, and ultimate delivery of such products can result not only in discomfort and human suffering but also in loss of life. Such supplies are essential in times of disasters and emergencies.

The objective is to minimize the total network costs, which are  generalized costs that may include the monetary, risk, time, and social costs. Two different cases of disruption scenarios are considered. In the first case, we assume that the impacts of the disruptions are mild and that the demands can be met.  In the second case, the demands cannot all be satisfied. For these two cases, we propose two individual performance indicators.
We showed that the governing optimality conditions can be formulated as a variational inequality problem with nice features for numerical solution.

In addition, we proposed two distinct supply chain network performance indicators for critical needs products. The first indicator considers disruptions in the link capacities but assumes that the demands for the product can be met. The second indicator captures the unsatisfied demand. We then constructed a bi-criteria supply chain network performance indicator and used it for the evaluation of distinct supply chain networks. The bi-criteria indicator allows for the comparison of the robustness of different supply chain networks under a spectrum of real-world scenarios. We illustrated the new concepts in the paper with numerical supply chain network examples in which the supply chains were subject to a spectrum of disruptions involving capacity reductions as well as demand changes.

Given that the number of disasters has been growing globally, we expect that the methodological tools introduced in this paper will be applicable in practice in disaster planning and emergency preparedness.

Thanks also to Wiley for publicizing our first critical needs supply chain network paper, which focused on design, in its Asia blog on What's New in Operations Research.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Was the Academic Mother of the Bride

Yesterday, we traveled with one of my doctoral students, Min Yu, who will be receiving her PhD this coming week at graduate ceremonies at UMass Amherst,  to Beacon, New York to attend the wedding of another former doctoral student of mine, Dt. Trisha Woolley, who was married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony overlooking the Hudson River. Another former doctoral student, Dr., Zugang "Leo" Liu, also came with his family to celebrate with us.

Both Trisha and Leo are now professors so there was also a supernetwork reunion aspect to the wedding.

The bride met the groom at the POMS Conference in Dallas, Texas, a few years ago appropriately, on May 5 and the wedding was on May 5, which was also the 38th anniversary of her parents' wedding.

I have had invitations to attend weddings of my doctoral students in India and outside London (I have videos of those weddings since I could not attend them) and have been to the wedding of Dr. Jose M. Cruz, which took place at Smith College.

As for my academic family tree, see the math genealogy list, which has now been traced back to Newton and Galileo. 

Remember, next Sunday is Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Optimal Decision Making

Every day our lives are filled with decision making, as individuals, as professionals, and as members of groups and communities that we belong to.

We are all operations researchers since survival of the fittest requires optimization and if our ancestors had not optimized we wouldn't be around today.

What never fails to fascinate me is the number of applications to which optimization can be applied to make processes and even organizations perform better.

As researchers and scholars it is imperative that we document our findings and I am delighted to report that the special issue of Computational Management Science, edited by Georg Pflug is now out and the theme is Optimal Decision Making.

This special issue, which is volume 9(2) of this journal, is the May 2012 issue. It is a collection of plenary papers from the Computational Management Science conference held in Vienna along with several invited papers. I had the pleasure of giving a plenary talk there.

The special issue has articles on optimization methodologies and applications to energy, marketing, transportation, and blood supply chains. The blood supply chain paper I co-authored with two of my doctoral students, Amir H. Masoumi and Min Yu: Supply chain network operations management of a blood banking system with cost and risk minimization. Blood is a highly perishable life-saving "product" and the optimization of blood banking processes can minimize both costs and wastes while ensuring that demand is met as closely as possible. This paper is part of a stream that we have completed on healthcare applications with the overarching theme of perishable products.

Min recently successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on time-sensitive supply chains and will be receiving her PhD with a concentration in Management Science next week at the UMass Amherst graduation ceremonies.

She will be a faculty member next Fall and will be imparting her knowledge of optimal decision making to a new generation of students.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Isenberg School of Management Celebrates Research

This past Wednesday, in the lovely atrium of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, we held our annual reception at which the research awards were given out and teaching was also recognized.

It was very special to receive the research excellence award this year. Other faculty colleagues that were recognized for their research included, from my department: Mila Sherman, Bing Liang, Nikunj Kapadia, and Traci Hess. Christian Rojas of the Resource Economics department also received a research award.  The majority of the research award recipients were in my department (it is a great department, I do admit, and my colleagues are smart but also very interesting and nice).

The Isenberg School consists of 7 departments: my department of Finance and Operations Management, the Accounting department, the Marketing department, the Management department, and three other departments which add to the uniqueness (and fun of the school); Sports Management, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Resource Economics.

Yes, our great Dean, Mark Fuller, was wearing a UMass Amherst sweatshirt since immediately afterwards there was a senior barbecue for graduating seniors outside the atrium at which he expertly flipped the burgers.

Publications in premier journals were recognized as well as grants and research productivity.

The reception was fabulous as well as the turnout.

Another Successful INFORMS Student Chapter Party -- Great Colleagues, Students, and Food

Yes, now is the end of the academic year with papers and projects due, final exams to take, and for the faculty -- a lot of grading to do.

It is also the time of the year when we hold many events -- from award ceremonies to the grand finales -- the graduations.

As the Faculty Advisor to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter we have a tradition of holding a party at the end of each semester and yesterday we had our 16th such party.

It was a great event with colleagues in the Isenberg School of management and the College of Engineering getting together, along with students, to sample cuisine from around the world and to engage in fun conversations and social interactions.

A great time was had by all -- such events bring the members of our community closer together.

Thanks to all for their support -- it means a lot to the students (and to me, as well)!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Congrats to newly elected members of the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences has announced its newly elected members for 2012 and it is really nice to have names on the list that I recognize from the Director of the National Science Foundation Subra Suresh to Professors Lovasz, Athey, and Williams.

It was also very special to see Professor Wendell Fleming of the Division of Applied Math at Brown University, who was chair of that department when I received my 3 degrees in Applied Math from Brown, on the list! He is now professor emeritus.

Congrats to everyone!

The full list is here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So Looking Forward to Graduations and Giving a Commencement Speech

May and June are the months for graduations (at least north of the equator) and with spring in full bloom the excitement surrounding the marking of such milestones is palpable.

Living and working in Amherst, Massachusetts with the 5 colleges (UMass, Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire) plus numerous colleges in our knowledge corridor and in Massachusetts and neighboring Connecticut, this marks a truly special time of the year.

I am very much looking forward to the UMass Amherst graduation, both the undergrad and grad ceremonies that will be taking place on May 11, 2012.

I am so proud of all that our undergraduate students at the Isenberg School of Management have accomplished as well as the graduate students. This year, my PhD student, Min Yu, will be receiving her PhD, and her family is traveling from China for the graduation ceremony and festivities.

The Isenberg School has been graduating 25% of the UMass Amherst graduates -- an amazing number and our students are outstanding with several Jack Welch Scholars and recipients of the Leaders for the 21st Century  Award.

The Isenberg School will be sending off its  graduates in an additional special ceremony on May 12 at the Mullins Center,

I am also looking forward to high school graduations and, especially this year, since my daughter, Alexandra, will be graduating from Deerfield Academy. You can view some photos of graduations that I have enjoyed at Deerfield Academy and UMass Amherst here and here.

As for commencement speeches, which are supposed to be inspiring, Ted Koppel, the renowned journalist, will be speaking at UMass Amherst.

This morning, I accepted an invitation to be a commencement speaker at graduate graduation ceremonies at the University of Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law in mid-June.

Having given a Isenberg School of Management undergraduate commencement speech  a few years ago, I am very much looking forward to inspiring graduating students in Gothenburg, Sweden!  I have become enchanted by that institution.

Congrats to all the graduates and their family members!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

College D-Day

Today, May 1st, is for many colleges and universities, what I call D-Day, where "D' stands for "deposit."

High school seniors have evaluated their college acceptances and decide (with postmarked response forms and their deposits) where they plan to spend the next 4 years of their lives.

I know of students who have woken up on May 1, in years past, to finally make the college decision that morning  and I know of students this year who cannot decide and will be taking a gap year, which means that they will not be attending college next year.

With several additional colleges this year allowing for early action, it will be very interesting to see the "yields." In other words, what  percentage of those accepted at a given college will actually matriculate?

Personally, I know of students accepted Early Action to Yale and to Harvard, who still kept on applying after getting in to such schools. I guess some are never satisfied.

It was an extremely competitive year for college acceptances and the competition for admittance into US colleges and universities is now global plus with the Common Application more students are applying to many colleges (some of which they have not even visited).

The shuffling will begin soon, and it will be interesting to see how deep certain colleges will have to go down their waiting lists.

In the meantime, I wish the college admissions officers and the financial aid officers lots of luck.The same goes for the high school seniors and their families.

It has been a long road for many with college visits, lengthy college applications, interviews, and then the waiting for the college acceptance decisions followed by second college visits and numerous discussions with family members and maybe even friends.

Congrats to all those who have weathered this long process and best of luck after your high school graduations.

Before you know it, you will also be holding college diplomas so enjoy college  -- those four years are truly transformative and the hard work you do then pays off.

Remember, it is the work that you do and who you are that ultimately makes for being successful in life.

Simons Foundation Funds Major Computing Institute at UC Berkeley

I was delighted to read in The New York Times that the University of California Berkeley has been selected as the home of a new Computing Institute to be headed by Richard Karp with support from  Christos Papadimitrou. Papadimitrou, you may recall, is credited for the term "price of anarchy,"  which I have written about in some of my work, including in  the Fragile Networks book co-authored with Qiang "Patrick" Qiang.

The Institute is being funded by the Simons Foundation.

The Simons Foundation was established by James Simons, who had been a faculty member at SUNY Stony Brook in Math (I had an offer from the department when I was on the job market finishing up my PhD at Brown University) and then went on to establish and lead the very successful hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies. He is now one of the wealthiest people in the world but doesn't just sit on his gold.

I have written about the good work that his foundation has been doing in supporting research and education on this blog.

It is thrilling to see that this institute will be focusing on computing and will support research and applications in algorithmics and computational thinking that are now permeating so many disciplines.

I wish UC Berkeley lots of success in bringing disciplines together and in making discoveries through analyzing big data. I appreciated also seeing massively parallel architectures noted in the Times article and seeing Jeannette Wing quoted.  Yes, there are females that love to compute and to solve problems.