Friday, October 31, 2014

Photos from the INFORMS Tune-Up Today at the Isenberg School - See you in San Francisco

Today is Halloween but it was also the Tune-Up for the Annual INFORMS Conference,  which we started a few years ago so that our doctoral students could get to practice the talks that they would be giving at our annual conference. The event was organized by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.

Today, we had 6 PhD student presentations and they were fabulous! What stands out is the breadth and depth of applications and methodologies that are being utilized at UMass Anherst by our PhD students in Operations Research and the Management Sciences !

I took the photos below. Great to see faculty turn out as well to support our students. Nice to have some Halloween decorations as well to create a festive mood!
We look forward to seeing all of our colleagues in San Francisco soon for #INFORMS2014.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Future Transportation in a Connected World

Today was a great day for transportation!

In my morning class in Logistics & Transportation, we had a surprise guest from India - a consultant in Transportation & Logistics who was in the US for the first time, and had spoken recently in Los Angeles at the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists. Many of my undergraduate students are interested in the consulting profession and, after an introduction, they asked her numerous questions not only about consulting but also about transportation in India and the challenges. Her talk in LA was on non-motorized last mile deliveries and associated challenges, including congestion. She told us about plans for new subway systems in India as well as the inroads that the Japanese are making in the transport sector from trains to logistics. She also talked about being the only female in her group initially and about the competition among top consulting firms for business. She noted the importance of competing on price and credentials, which I would call "quality." and experience.

Then it was time to go to lunch with a group of the Transportation faculty from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UMass Amherst since the group was hosting a faculty member from RPI, Professor Jeff Ban, whose advisor was Dr. Bin Ran at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and whose advisor, in turn, was Professor David E. Boyce. Academics tend to track their academic family trees or genealogy. Ran and Boyce co-authored the book, Modeling Dynamic Transportation Networks.

Information on Professor Ban's talk that took place this afternoon is below:

 Future Transportation in A Connected World

Xuegang (Jeff) Ban

Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Abstract: Emerging technologies (such as mobile sensing, connected vehicles, and new social media) make transportation components more connected. This includes connections/ communications among vehicles, and between vehicles and the infrastructure, as well as more close connections among transportation users. Such connections are transforming and will continue to further transform the transportation system. This talk will focus on certain aspects of these transformations, including (i) how mobile sensing data can be collected and used for urban traffic modeling applications; and (ii) what system analysis models may be developed to account for the connections among users.

I enjoyed his talk a lot and he emphasized issues of privacy and big data in transportation. Also, how not to just gather data but to glean knowledge from the data through algorithms, while preserving travellers' privacy.

I very much enjoyed the discussion on urban freight and the benefits of night-time deliveries in urban settings, including NYC, with some of the benefits including improved travel times and the lowering of emissions. However, a major challenge remains that the consumers, including retailers, want the deliveries to take place in the daytime and they hold the power - so discussions centered also on incentives.

Since several of my doctoral students also came to the talk I was very pleased that he mentioned the need for different behavioral models, which, coincidentally, we have been researching. And, of course, I was thrilled when he noted game theory and variational inequalities!

I took the photos below at Professor Ban's presentation and afterwards.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Congrats to ALL the INFORMS Student Chapter Award Winners!

One of my favorite activities is working as the Faculty Advisor to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.

Today we heard the good news from Mr. David Hunt who is the VP of Chapters/Fora of INFORMS, which also went out to Faculty Advisors.

The message read:

Dear Student Chapter Officers,

Congratulations! The Chapters/Fora Committee is delighted to notify you that your chapter is a winner of the INFORMS Student Chapter Annual Award at the level shown below. The purpose of these awards is to recognize the outstanding achievements of student chapters. The awards will be presented at the Student Awards Ceremony at the upcoming INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA. If you are at the meeting, we hope you will join us and be recognized at this event. It will be held on Monday, November 10th at 7:30 p.m. in the Hilton San Francisco Union Square in the Plaza Ballroom on the Lobby Level. If you are unable to attend the conference, we will mail the award to your respective Faculty Advisor.

Thank you for all your hard work and for your commitment to INFORMS student chapters!

Best regards,

David Hunt
VP for Chapters/Fora   

Summa Cum Laude
Texas A&M University
University of South Florida

Magna Cum Laude
Northwestern University
Stanford University
University of Michigan
University of Oklahoma

Cum Laude
Lehigh University
Mississippi State University
North Carolina State Univ
Purdue University
University of Massachusetts
University of Texas-Austin
University of Toronto
Virginia Tech

Congratulations to all the very deserving students and chapters!

The timing is perfect since this Friday, we are having a Tune-Up for the INFORMS conference event. I think that we should bring some cake!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Having the BEST Job in the World - that of a Business Prof

I do believe that one is the sum of one's experiences and that includes all the jobs that one has ever held.

In my case, that has included, during summer breaks from college (Brown University), being a camp counselor in the Catskills with memories of hiking for miles and miles and sleeping in tents with outhouses, and working at St. John's Riverside Hospital in Yonkers as a nurses' aide the 4PM to midnight shift, where I took temperatures, delivered refreshments, gave backrubs, made beds, emptied bedpans, assisted in placing the deceased in body bags, and also tried to uplift the still living and recuperating patients through conversations. I especially enjoyed talking to the elderly patients and sometimes would be shocked by seeing patients that I knew!

During the academic year, I had jobs helping in the Rockefeller Library in the Slavic department at Brown, which was fun, and I also worked on  the Ratty cafeteria dishline (the dirty ones) Saturday evenings (less fun), which  taught me to seek the highest level of education that I possibly could, and I did, completing my PhD at Brown University in Applied Mathematics with a specialty in Operations Research.

While pursuing my Master's at Brown in Applied Math - I always loved networks, operations research, and economics -  I also worked in industry in high tech consulting in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island for two different firms. These experiences were extremely valuable in my position now as a Professor at the Isenberg School of Management.

I LOVE being a business school professor and do believe that I have the best job in the world.

Perhaps I am experiencing a bit of an afterglow - our department meeting, which was scheduled for 2 hours ended after only 1 hour  and it was quite productive, and the students in my Logistics & Transportation class did great on the midterm yesterday that I just finished grading.

I am a tough instructor and have very high standards but if you raise the bar and motivate the material well the students respond.

Some of the reasons that I have the best job in the world:

  • The students at the Isenberg School of Management are fabulous - I teach both the undergrads in our Operations & Information Management Department and doctoral students in the Management Science track, along with students from across campus that register for my classes.
  • I get to teach subjects that are always evolving and very timely and exciting - Logistics & Transportation, Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare, and Networks, Game Theory, and Variational Inequalities.  
  • The research and projects that I get to work on with students and collaborators within and across disciplines are challenging, tough, and never, ever boring! There is nothing like the "Aha!"  moment when everything comes together and you solve a problem that you have been working on and that has even filled your dreams!
  • I have colleagues who are smart, entrepreneurial, and interesting and some have really great senses of humor, which is needed with the busy life of a business professor!
  • I get to travel to give invited talks at conferences, companies, and universities, and I have taught and lectured  in different countries.
  • I get to meet fascinating people.
  • As a professor, you are always evolving, adapting, learning, and growing, and always trying to do your very best.
  • A professor gets to see undergraduate students mastering material and becoming adults that we can all be very proud of. Students' successes warm our hearts!
  • One gets to grow one's academic family also through the doctoral students that one has supervised that receive their PhDs and go on to become professors or industry leaders.  Together we celebrate their achievements and successes.
  • One gets to be part of great professional societies and communities such as INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), where one makes friendships, learns the latest professional news, keeps up-to-date with research and industry practices and needs, and has a great time at conferences.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Congrats to the ChoiceNet Future Internet Architecture Team on the Success of their Tutorial at GEC 21!

Today, I held a review for the midterm exam for students in my Logistics & Transportation class  plus I had office hours, so I could not take part in the GEC21 Conference at the University of which, as I wrote in my blogpost yesterday, our ChoiceNet project team was presenting a two part tutorial.

ChoiceNet is our NSF Future Internet Architecture (FIA) project, which we have been working on for several years now. Our goal in ChoiceNet is to introduce an economy plane for the Internet.

The tutorial is now over with and Professor Tilman Wolf of UMass Amherst, with whom I and our colleagues at the University of Kentucky, NCState, and UNC, along with our doctoral students, have been working with, emailed the photos below from the tutorial. There were 53 in attendance.

The two-part tutorial, including the slides can be accessed here and here.

Those on our team who were present at the tutorial are featured below.

Below is the Acknowledgments page from the tutorial:
And for those of you who may be wondering where are the female faces, two of my doctoral students, who are working with me on the project, Sara Saberi and Dong "Michelle" Li are female, but they were busy at UMass Amherst so could not attend the tutorial sessions. We provided feedback on the second part over the summer since the focus there was on the network economics and payments. We have several models of competition in quality and in prices for the FIA, which have been pubslished in a series of our papers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

ChoiceNet at Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) Engineering Conference (GEC21)

Today,  the GENI Engineering Conference 21  (GEC21) begins at Indiana University and, tomorrow afternoon, there will be a two part tutorial on our National Science Foundation (NSF) project ChoiceNet.    

More details on the tutorial can be found here and here. My UMass ciolleague, Professor Tilman Wolf,  and University of Kentucky colleague, Professor Jim Griffioen,  will be conducting the tutorial along with two doctoral students.

The full schedule can be accessed here.

GENI, also known as the Global Environment for Network Innovations, provides a virtual laboratory for networking and distributed systems research and education. It is well suited for exploring networks at scale, thereby promoting innovations in network science, security, services and applications.
ChoiceNet is our project, funded by NSF under the grant: Network Innovation Through Choice. UMass Amherst is the lead on this multiunveisrity project with Professor Tilman Wolf of the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering as the PI and me as the Co-PI, along with colleagues from the University of Kentucky, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina. ChoiceNet is one of five NSF Future Internet Architecture projects.

Professor Wolf prepared this page on our ChoiceNet project, which will continue to be updated.

Specifically, we seek to introduce an Economy plane into the Internet.


The goal of ChoiceNet is to enable choices and the associated economic relationships between entities in the network. ChoiceNet makes it possible for network service providers to compete for customers and be rewarded for quality and innovation. In today’s network, money enters the network ecosystem only around the edges: consumers (individuals or enterprises) pay access providers for Internet service. Most access providers, in turn, pay other ISPs to carry their traffic to/from the rest of the Internet. Indeed, most end-to-end traffic in the Internet traverses at least three distinct service

Thus, in today’s Internet (i) no single provider controls all end-to-end paths; (ii) money flow between providers is outside the architecture and by necessity changes slowly; and (iii) traffic flow is constrained at the granularity of providers to follow the money flow. The result is that transit providers have neither means nor incentive to compete via new service offerings, and consumers have essentially no control over the service they receive or its quality. A central thesis of ChoiceNet is that enabling money flow to follow traffic flow (instead of vice versa), coupled with greater support for choice among end-users, should lead to increased provider competition and more innovation.

ChoiceNet’s economy plane aims to give assurances to providers that they can compete for customers and be compensated for the services they render. At the same time, ChoiceNet provides users with the ability to select from a set of offerings and combine them to form complex services, thereby separating services that are currently entangled in the current Internet. Key to such an architecture is the ability to market services and then form or dissolve business relationships on (potentially small) time scales. Moreover, ChoiceNet must enable providers (and consumers) to prove (or verify) that the contracted service was rendered as promised.

I have two doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management conducting research on ChoiceNet: Sara Saberi and Dong "Michelle" Li. We are specifically working on the game theory and network economics aspects and have already published a series of papers, including:
  • Anna Nagurney, Dong Li, Tilman Wolf, and Sara Saberi. A network economic game theory model of a service-oriented internet with choices and quality competition. NETNOMICS: Economic Research and Electronic Networking, 14(1–2):1–25, November 2013. (Notable Article in Computing in 2013 by ACM Computing Reviews) DOI
  • Anna Nagurney and Tilman Wolf. A Cournot-Nash-Bertrand game theory model of a service-oriented internet with price and quality competition among network transport providers. Computational Management Science, 11(4), pages 475-502. DOI
  • Sara Saberi, Anna Nagurney, Tilman Wolf, A network economic game theory model of s service-oriented Internet with price and quality competition in both content and network provision. Service Science, 6(4), December 2014, pages 1-24.
I hope that everyone at GEC21 has a rewarding conference!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Always a Favorite Event - Tune-Up for the INFORMS Conference with the UMass Student Chapter

As the Faculty Advisor to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, I always enjoy helping students out with the planning of events and attending them from speakers that we host and a variety of panels (both research and teaching),   as well as social events, such as our 10th Anniversary party two weeks ago.

Also, to give our doctoral students a pleasant setting in which to practice the talks that they will be giving at the Annual INFORMS Conference, we host the annual Tune-Up event. This year the conference takes place in San Francisco in early November.

The students prepared the nice poster above for this year's tune-up, which will take place at the Isenberg School of Management on Friday, October 31, 2014, from 2-4PM in Room 112. Special thanks to this year's Chapter President, Michael Prokle, for getting all the information together and to the Chapter Secretaries: Heng Chen and Kayla Monahan, for putting the poster together!

There will be 4 doctoral students from the Isenberg School in Management Science (Dong "Michelle" Li, Tulay Varol Flamand, Sara Saberi, and Heng Chen) presenting and two from the College of Engineering, who are conecntrating in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (Joanne Oh and Olaitan Olaleye). I am the dissertation advisor for Michelle and Sara. Professor Ahmed Ghoniem is the advisor of Tulay and Professor Senay Solak is the advisor of Heng. Professor Hari Balasubramanian is advising Joanne Oh and Professor Erin Baker - Olaita.

The topics of these 6 talks alone demonstrate the breadth and depth of research in OR/MS, so do join us if you can!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Meet an Executive in the Apparel Industry

The 2014 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, Professor Jean Tirole, said recently in an interview in the The Upshot column, in The New York Times: There’s no easy line in summarizing my contribution and the contribution of my colleagues. It is industry-specific. The way you regulate payment cards has nothing to do with the way that you regulate intellectual property or railroads. There are lots of idiosyncratic factors. That’s what makes it all so interesting. It’s very rich. It requires some understanding of how an industry works. And then the reasoning is very much based on game theory.

His words to me could be directly translated to why I find supply chains so fascinating and interesting to work on - the idiosyncratic characteristics of  supply chains in different industries, whether in high tech, food, pharmaceuticals, or even fashion! And, yes, we use game theory in our competitive supply chain network models.

Some of our most recent work, with a focus on perishable product supply chains, including blood supply chains and medical nuclear ones, we describe in our book, Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products., in which we also have a chapter on fast fashion supply chains. 

Interestingly, we have Professor T.M. "Jason" Choi of Hong Kong to thank for inspiring us to work on fashion / apparel supply chains and, to-date, we have written 3 papers on the topic, with the most recent one being with my great colleague, Professor Jonas Floden, of the University of Gothenburg, and a former doctoral student, Professor Min Yu of the University of Portland: Fashion Supply Chain Network Competition with Ecolabelling, Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Jonas Floden, in press in Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management: From Sourcing to Retailing, T.-M. Choi and T.C.E. Cheng, Editors, Springer. 

I very much enjoyed working on this paper and would walk for miles in the beautiful city of Gothenburg stopping into a variety of stores from H&M and Zara and several with eco-labelled fashion products.

So, when an opportunity came to help host Mr. Marc Schneider of PVH, who is both an executive and an alum of the Isenberg School, I had to say "yes!" He had come to speak with us about 3 years ago and it was a terrific experience.

Mr. Schneider will be speaking at the Isenberg School of Friday, November 7, 2014. The students of the UMass Amhest INFORMS Student Chapter prepared the nice poster below.

I hope that you can join us.
After the event, many of us will be packing up and flying to the INFORMS conference in San Francisco!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Which Suppliers Really Matter to Your Supply Chain Performance?

We have certainly experienced a long list of supplier failures, whether from natural disasters, quality shortcomings (with the automotive industry being a notable example, as well as compounding pharmacies),  or even due to the Ebola healthcare and humanitarian logistics crisis, with great demand for the timely delivery of critical needs supplies for both healthcare providers and patients being unmet, not to mention the healthcare providers themselves in the form of human supply chains.

With numerous supply chains, from high tech products, to pharmaceuticals, to even food, being increasingly complex in terms of both the network topology, the number of decision-makers,  as well as the distances involved, it is high time for performance metrics and ranking tools to enable the identification of which suppliers as well as the components that they provide matter not only to the full supply chain but also to your individual firm.

First, one has to realize that this is the Era of the Supply Chain Network Economy and tools that just handle one supplier - one manufacturer are completely out-of-date. One has to be able to capture the interrelationships among suppliers, who are profit-maximizing, as well as the firms that they supply, who in turn, compete with other firms.

In our most recent paper: Supply Chain Performance Assessment and Supplier and Component Importance Identification in a General Competitive Multitiered Supply Chain Network Model, Dong Li and Anna Nagurney, that I co-authored with one of my doctoral students, who has done great work on supply chain network competition and quality, we provide a performance assessment metric for the full supply chain, and for that of an individual firm.  The metric quantifies the efficiency of the supply chain or firm, respectively, and also allows for the identification and ranking of the importance of suppliers as well as the components of suppliers with respect to the full supply chain or individual firm. The firms are differentiated by brands and our general multitiered competitive supply chain network equilibrium model with suppliers and firms includes capacities and constraints to capture the production activities. Firms may have a certain amount of capability to produce components in-house, depending on their capacities.

The supply chain network performance measure is inspired by our work on network performance assessment in a variety of network systems ranging from transportation to the Internet (see Nagurney and Qiang (2009) and the references therein) as well as in supply chains (cf. Qiang, Nagurney, and Dong (2009), and Qiang and Nagurney (2012)) but with the addition of the supplier tier, which is the focus in our paper.

Suppliers in supply chains are even vital to cybersecurity and the above graphic taken from our paper was part of the presentation that I gave last month at the Sloan School at MIT as part of the Advanced Cyber Security Workshop that I co-organized with several Isenberg School colleagues and a College of Engineering one.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Student and Faculty Accolades in the Beautiful Isenberg School of Management Atrium

In just over a week, we will be memoralizing the late Mr. Gene Isenberg, after whom our School of Management at UMass Amherst is named, and recognizing also his wife, Ronnie, and their family. 

We received the nice invitation via email recently.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and Dean Mark A. Fuller cordially invite you to

 A Tribute to Gene M. Isenberg in recognition of the life of Mr. Isenberg and the numerous contributions he, Ronnie and their family have made to the Isenberg School and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Monday, October 20, 2014 at 2:30pm
Flavin Auditorium, Isenberg School of Management
Reception to follow in the Isenberg Atrium

Our lovely school atrium has been undergoing some spiffing up for the event and the display cases have been updated. 

I was thrilled to see student awards received by student chapters in one of the display cases, including two of the most recent Magna Cum Laude Award plaques that the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter received in the past two years. Just last Friday, we celebrated the chapter's 10th anniversary
Also, on the other side of the entranceway, it was very special to see our latest new endowed professor, Dr. Hossein Kazemi of Finance recognized, another colleague in Management, Dr. Chuck Manz, the Nirenberg Professor, as well as Dr. Bing Liang of Finance, and even yours truly, with my INFORMS Fellow plaque, awarded in 2013, and the Walter Isard Award, given in 2012.
The school is getting ready for the tribute - the Isenbergs through their philanthropy have made a huge impact on our students, faculty, staff, and infrastructure and we thank them profusely!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Recognizing Female Talent in Tech, Welcome to the 21st Century, Mr. Nadella of Microsoft

The news came to me this morning from my husband who had received it in his ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) daily email newsletter and he was shocked.

Yesterday, at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, Satya Nadella, the Chief Executive of Microsoft,  suggested that women who do not ask for more money from their employers would be rewarded in the long run when their good work was recognized.

The New York Times had a great article on this "misspeaking"  complete with a video in which Dr. Maria Klawe, the President of Harvey Mudd College, and former Dean of Engineering at Princeton, completely disagrees with him. I have written about Dr. Klawe, since I am a big fan of hers and she has been very innovative in computing education and in breaking down barriers.

The Twittersphere lit up with Nadella's telling women not to ask for a raise but to wait for good karma - I kid you not! 

We are, last time that I checked, living in the 21st century, in which Lean In has become the mantra, Larry Summers is no longer President of Harvard University, but Drew Gilpin Faust is and she was the Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study when I was a Science Fellow there 2005-2006.  Coincidentally, in the same Times article, Claudia Goldin, who was also a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard my year,  is quoted.

Female talent in tech needs to be recognized and rewarded and having the right salary is one clear way in which to do this. Dr. Klawe regrets not speaking up when negotiating for her offer from Princeton and even more recently from Harvey Mudd College.

Another way to recognize females is through professional society awards.

For example, WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences),  a forum of INFORMS, started the WORMS Award 9 years ago.  The Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS celebrates and recognizes a person who has contributed significantly to the advancement and recognition of women in the field of Operations Research and the Management Sciences (OR/MS).

Several of the WORMS Award recipients have also been  elected  INFORMS Fellows: Cynthia Barnhart of MIT, Brenda Dietrich of IBM, Kathy Stecke of UT Dallas, yours truly in 2013, and, this year, we have two out of the twelve 2014 INFORMS Fellows being female and also previous WORMS Award winners: Dr. Candi Yano of UC Berkeley and Dr. Radhika Kulkarni of SAS. WORMS has had outstanding officers, including Laura McLay, now at the University of Wisconsin Madison, who served as President, and has done great work in advocating for female tech professionals - thanks!

Perhaps Nadella should come to the INFORMS Conference in San Francisco and meet some truly successful, wonderful female and male pioneers in tech.

Nadella might learn something from Ed Lazowska, who is a Brown University alum, as am I. In an article in USA Today it was stated:  Hiring women and minorities isn't about window dressing. It actually makes it a better and more profitable company, says Ed Lazowska, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington-Seattle. "Engineering (particularly of software) is a hugely creative endeavor. Greater diversity — more points of view — yields a better result," he said.

Indeed, and they should be fairly compensated!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Great Supernetwork Team at the Great Isenberg School of Management

The latest edition of The Supernetwork Sentinel, the newsletter of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, that I founded in the Fall of 2001 at the Isenberg School, is now available online for download.
It amazes me how much the supernetwork team manages to accomplish through collaboration, support of one another,  working together, and having a great time researching problems wherever supernetworks or networks of networks appear. In the Fall 2014 newsletter, we highlight the recent workshop on cybersecurity risk and enterprises, that we co-organized and that took place at MIT, international conferences that Center Associates spoke at, and recent accolades and awards received. Also, since students are our are future, we noted even the 10th anniversary celebration of the award-winning UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, which took place last Friday at the Isenberg School - complete with a slide show of photos over a decade and  video of testimonials, which included several from the Supernetwork Team - Professor Tina Wakolbinger, Professor Jose Cruz, Professor Amir H. Masoumi, and Professor Leo "Zugang" Liu, who have been great supporters and almost all of them also Chapter Officers plus Isenberg PhD graduates in Management Science!

For all editions of this newsletter over the past decade, please visit our newsletter page.

To do great research, these days, increasingly, it takes a great team, working together, whether it is on problems of humanitarian logistics, environmental issues and supply chains, transportation congestion and policies, quality management and information asymmetry, or even the Future Internet Architecture! With methodological tools of network theory, game theory, projected dynamical systems and variational inequalities, we capture the behavior of interacting agents to gain insights both theoretically and computationally. The collaborations take place across a room, or across oceans. The friendships made support the hard work and make it enjoyable and very rewarding.

And when we get together, whether at conferences, workshops, or just visiting one another, the strong bonds and trust lead to new research directions, and memorable experiences that we treasure.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Photos of the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter at the Isenberg School

Today was truly a special day!

We marked the 10th anniversary of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter with a party at the Isenberg School of Management.

How do you celebrate 10 years - you do it in great style and I congratulate all the student chapter officers and members for pulling together a party with exceptional cuisines, video testimonials from previous officers and a friend: Professor Amir H. Masoumi of Manhattan College, Professor Tina Wakolbinger of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, who was the Chapter's first President back in 20014, Professor Christian Wernz of Virginia Tech, who was the chapter first President from outside the Isenberg School (from the College of Engineering), Professor Zugang "Leo" Liu of Penn State University Hazleton, and Professor Jose M. Cruz of the University of Connecticut! Shivani Shukla, last year's Chapter President, gathered all the video testimonials and made a wonderful video of all of them - thank you!

And Professor Masoumi surprised us by also showing up with his family!

The testimonials were greatly appreciated!

Our new webmaster and new doctoral student in Management Science, Ekin Koker, put together about 800 photos of chapter activities in a beautiful slide show video, which brought back so many wonderful memories!

The officers even presented me with a gift and a lovely thank you card. It's been a joy serving as the Faculty Advisor of this student chapter and it is amazing the community that we have built and the friendships made over the years.

Thanks to the officers and students for putting together such a memorable, wonderful event today. Thanks also to all the faculty and staff that support this chapter. Your support means a tremendous amount to the students (and to me)!

Below I include some photos from today's celebration for your enjoyment and those who could not be with us in person.

Economist Thomas Piketty, Best-Selling Author of Capital in the 21st Century, Speaks at UMass Amherst

Yesterday, Professor Thomas Piketty, the author of the controversial best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century,  spoke at UMass Amherst to an audience of thousands at the Student Union Ballroom.
He had flown in from Paris to Boston Logan, and had been driven to Amherst by the Chair of the Economics Department, Professor Michael Ash, who introduced him. Our new Provost, Katherine Newman, gave some welcoming remarks, as did Ash.

Piketty had been invited to deliver the Gamble Lecture. According to the announcement: His best-selling book emphasizes the themes of his work on wealth concentrations and distribution over the past 250 years. The book argues that the rate of capital return in developed countries is persistently greater than the rate of economic growth, and that this will cause wealth inequality to increase in the future. To address this problem, he proposes redistribution through a global tax on wealth.

Piketty spoke to an audience of students, faculty, staff, members of the community, and I even saw one of my Operations Management alums there, who drove up from the Hartford area. It was nice to see several of my colleagues from the Isenberg School of management there.

I appreciated his sense of humor - Piketty said that he was speaking French and, indeed, his English sounded French. He is an empirical economist and noted that he is better at analyzing the past than the future. He considers his book, which was published by Harvard University Press,  to be a "historical narrative" and a "collective data collection" project that is continuing and to which data from more countries is being added. He emphasized that the data and graphs are posted online for anyone to access. He obtains his income data from income tax data. One of his major queries was to determine as to why so much wealth is now concentrated at the top.

The Economist provided a summary of the 700 page book in four paragraphs. The book was published in French one year ago and in English last March and has taken the world by storm. It was terrific to be able to see him at UMass Amherst and, as the Provost noted,  our Economics Department is a heterodox one so a great host for Piketty. Piketty stated that he believes in Economics for Society.

I hope that you enjoy the photos below that I took at Piketty's presentation.

I also found online a presentation that he gave last March, which seems as though it is essentially the same as the one he gave yesterday, which can be accessed here.

This has been quite the intellectual week at UMass Amherst, with the Nobel laureate, Dr. Sheldon Glashow, speaking the day before!   One of the best aspects of being in academia is the knowledge exchange through wonderful speakers!