Saturday, March 29, 2014

Packing and Revising My Optimal Route to the INFORMS Analytics Conference in Boston

I  am blogging the INFORMS Analytics Conference in Boston and below I am reposting my first submitted official post.

It is a beautiful sunny day in Massachusetts and we are very excited about the INFORMS Analytics Conference which kicks off tomorrow in Boston at the Westin Waterfront hotel!

My talk on cybersecurity and financial services, which I am presenting there on Tuesday is all set, and I have begun to pack. There is no need for printing a boarding pass and making a seat assignment, unlike for my trip of just over a week ago when I flew back from Amsterdam to Boston Logan. 

Since I work on network systems, from transportation and logistical ones to the Internet, I have  always been  interested in optimal  routing of flows.

I had settled on a route from Amherst, where I live, to Boston, which I am very familiar with, and then the email arrived from EZPass last evening, which stated:

MassDOT has planned 3 significant weekend lane restrictions on Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) in Boston to remove the Prudential Tunnel ceiling over the roadway. The ceiling remains safe and secure, but has deteriorated beyond the point of repair and must be removed. The tunnel ceiling is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA).

The restrictions will reduce traffic to one lane eastbound and one lane westbound inside the Prudential Center Tunnel on the following weekends:
March 28-30!!! (I added the exclamation points.)

Last Saturday,  my shuttle driver from Logan made a quick maneuver when he saw the stream of glowing car backlights in the same tunnel, which is just outside of Logan. This necessitated a diversion through Arlington and added about 40 minutes to the last leg of my journey back to Amherst, which had originated in Gothenburg, Sweden, 14 hours before!

But now I was forewarned, thanks to MassDOT!

So, since we are educated as operations researchers, my revised route to Boston is below:
This INFORMS conference should be very energizing with exciting interactions between academics and practitioners plus I am even bringing one of my doctoral students, who is the President of our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. This will be an outstanding venue for introducing her to my favorite professional society and community!

Go INFORMS, Boston, and, always, Boston Strong!

Safe travels, everyone, and see you soon!