Monday, March 14, 2016

Started My Spring Break By Speaking at the University of Buffalo

While many students and faculty were heading to warmer climates at the beginning of our spring break, I was off to speak at the University of Buffalo. I had been invited to give a Praxair Seminar in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.The title of my presentation was: Supply Chain Networks Against Time: From Food to Pharma.

My great host there was Professor Chase Murray, whose research involves drones and logistics, so how could I possibly refuse? Also, I know quite a few faculty who have spoken or will be speaking in this seminar series this year, including Professor Mike Trick of CMU, Professor Carolina Osorio from MIT, who was my host at MIT when I spoke there this past December, and even my neighbor and Engineering colleague at UMass Amherst, Professor Sundar Krishnamurty. who is the Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering! Plus, I had never been to Buffalo before.

To get to Buffalo, I had to fly via Southwest to Baltimore and then onwards to Buffalo. Ridiculous to have to fly south to end up north eventually. I missed a nice dinner on Thursday night since there was a delay in Baltimore for my flight to Buffalo. Everything else worked smoothly and I had nice seat mates on all of my flights on Southwest. If I had continued on the same plane that I flew from Bradley to Baltimore I could have gone on to Orlando and probably seen at least one of my students who was off to Disney for spring break.  My students had hoped that I could arrange a class trip there since operations research is very important at Disney.

The logistics for my talk were incredibly well-done. Having a nice lunch was pleasant after my talk and meeting very bright students was also a highlight. Special thanks to Professor Jamie Kang for picking me up at the Ramada Inn on Friday and for driving me to the University and for also meeting with me. I was honored when she asked me to autograph her copy of the Supernetworks book that I co-authored with Professor June Dong and, of course, I did so. It was also wonderful to meet with Professor Chi Zhou who is doing fascinating research on biological (tissue) 3D printing and with Professor Alex Nikolaev, who is a good friend of Professor Vladimir Boginskii's in Florida, whom I also know quite well. Accompanying us to lunch was Professor Jun Zhuang. Afterwards I met with Professor Jose Walteros, who was Professor Panos Pardalos' PhD student at the University of Florida and who is from Colombia.
I even got to fly a drone, courtesy of Professor Chase Murray, who is a great instructor. Another highlight was meeting the new Chair of the Department of Computer Science, who knows my collaborators on the NSF Future Internet Architecture project and our NSF EAGER grant, including my UMass colleague, Associate Dean Professor Tilman Wolf.
I was very impressed by the outstanding research at the University of Buffalo and thank so many for coming to my presentation, although it was also the Friday before their spring break. Although I did not see Professor Rajan Batta since I had missed the dinner and he was off to Chile, I had a great time speaking with his students on topics that included global health.

I did not have time to cover all the material in the slides that I had prepared. Hence, I have posted them for those who would like to look over them at their leisure.
There was no snow in Buffalo and the temperature was about 50 degrees. Of course, we reminisced about last winter, which was the worst one in 180 years in the northeast, and, thank goodness, this one was so easy on us.

Thanks to the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering for the wonderful hospitality! I was even presented with the gift below.
Happy spring break!

Today I will be speaking at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA on an entirely different topic - that of cyber crime and cybersecurity.