Sunday, January 19, 2014

Operations Researchers and the World Economic Forum in Davos

The 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting takes place this week in Davos, Switzerland, January 22-25.
The theme this year is The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business.

It's always interesting to see who will be coming to Davos from heads of state, to executives, to various thought leaders, academics, and humanitarians.

Just like one of my favorite professional societies, INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), the World Economic Form (WEF) also has Communities. 

I am very pleased that operations researchers are represented in two of the communities that  I am familiar with. Interestingly, I could identify 3 WEF individuals who are operations researchers and they are all in transportation & logistics!  If any of my readers know of other operations researchers, please let me know -- thanks!

Serving on the  Global Agenda Council  for Logistics and Supply Chain Systems are: Dr. Yossi Sheffi of MIT and Dr. Hugh Donald "Don"  Ratliff of Georgia Tech. I had last seen Yossi in Zurich, Switzerland, when we both were invited speakers at the great Vulnerability and Supply Chain Resilience Workshop  in September 2013. The workshop organizing committee is below

Organizing Committee

and Dr. Dirk Helbing is also on the WEF Global Agenda Council! It is not far from Zurich to Davos!

You can find all the WEF global agenda council members here (alphabetized, for some reason, by their first names).

The World Economic Forum in January 2013 produced a nice report on Building Resilience in Supply Chains , in collaboration with Accenture. In it, you will see not only Yossi Sheffi's name  but also Dr. Jose Holquin-Veras' of RPI. We hosted Dr. Holguin-Veras in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series at the Isenberg School and I last saw him in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I hold a Visiting Professorship at the University of Gothenburg. He also was a panelist with Dr. Laura McLay, Dr. Panos M.  Pardalos, Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, and Dr. David McLaughlin at the Dynamics of Disasters symposium last February that  I organized in Boston for the AAAS Annual Meeting.

Another World Economic Forum community is that of the Forum of Young Global Leaders and, among the group selected in 2013, is Dr. Soulaymane Kachani, who is originally from Morocco. He received both his Master's and PhD in Operations Research from MIT. I am a bit biased since his dissertation advisor was Dr. Georgia Perakis, who is technically my "academic sister," since she was a PhD student at Brown University working for Stella Dafermos (who was my advisor there, too) but then Stella died, so Dr. Tom Magnanti of MIT helped her to complete her PhD. Her PhD is from Brown.

Dr. Kachani is now a Vice Dean at Columbia and is in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. Columbia had issued this nice press release on his participation in the WEF. He is a great choice. He was my host when I spoke at Columbia, in September 2006. I gave a seminar ther on Dynamic Networks  in the  Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and Decision Science, Risk and Operations Series.

You can nominate a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for 2014 here.

Isn't it great to have operations researchers on the world stage?!

Best of luck to everyone at the WEF in Davos.