Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Supernetworks Lab at the Isenberg School of Management

It is hard to believe that 15 years ago I founded the Virtual Center for Supernetworks at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and have served as its Director ever since.  My co-author and former doctoral student, Dr. June Dong, and I had written the Supernetworks book, grants were coming in from the National Science Foundation and the AT&T Foundation, and there was and continues to be great interest surrounding networks to this day.

A big component of the Supernetwork Center is the Supernetworks Laboratory for Computation and Visualization, or the Supernetworks Lab, for short.
I am excited to report that we now have a new home at the Isenberg School for the lab. It is now housed in Room G11 and was formerly in G28. The lab has workspace for students as well as guests and visitors, a conference table for meetings and discussions, storage areas, shelves for books and boards for posting as well as a blackboard for discussions. We also have teleconferencing capabilities which is critical with our National Science Foundation grants, which tend to be multi-university ones.

When I look at the dissertations that have come out of the lab, as well as the publications, and the books, since its inception, it is clear that a community of support, excitement, and collaboration on both research and teaching leads to discoveries plus to great enjoyment. Also, the Center has Center Associates from academia and industry, and students, both graduate and undergraduate ones, creating great synergies. I have supported several undergraduates under NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates grants. Two former Undergraduate Center Associates went on to receive the Leaders for the 21st Century Awards from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, upon their graduation, a select honor only given to about a dozen students a year. Doctoral Student Center Associated have been recipients of the Isenberg School Outstanding Doctoral Student Researcher Award and the Outstanding Doctoral Student Teaching Award as well as INFORMS Judith B. Liebman Awards.  Two Doctoral Student Center Associates have been awarded national dissertation awards and one received two Isenberg Scholar Awards!

The lab and its Associates have been involved in numerous activities, from organizing conferences and workshops, to editing journal volumes, and serving as Associate Editors, to being frequently invited speakers at many prestigious forums in both academia and industry. The Supernetworks Lab page on the Virtual Center for Supernetworks contains more information.

Also, since Doctoral Student Center Associates are always very active in the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and frequently serve as officers, speakers can come to the Lab for meetings and discussions. We also have awards received by the Student Chapter from its parent society INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences)  (other awards of the chapter grace our beautiful Isenberg School atrium) and a big poster designed by the students.

What I am especially proud of is the great Supernetwork Team, whose members continue to work and collaborate together, building a resilient network across the miles. We are always stronger together!