Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Operations Research Speaks: From Human Trafficking to Distracted Driving to Wildfire Fuel Management and More!

Operations Research has had many successes from methodological advances to important applications and the solution of numerous relevant problems in areas as diverse as transportation and logistics to health care and even blood supply chains.

This semester we are very lucky to have a fantastic lineup of speakers in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series which the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter helps me to organize.

This Friday, October 13, 2017 we are hosting Dr. Renata Konrad from the Foisie School of Business at WPI in Massachusetts. Dr. Konrad will be speaking on human trafficking and how operations research and analytics can help in combating it.  Dr. Konrad I know through WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences), since she is this INFORMS forum's past President.  Also, Renata and I share a cultural heritage in that she was born in Canada and we both speak Ukrainian.
Renata and I were among the invited participants to a workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation on Disrupting Illicit Supply Chains, which took place last May at the University of Texas Austin and a followup workshop will be taking place in Arlington, VA in early December.

Then, on Friday, October 20, 2017, the chapter will be continuing its annual tradition of hosting a tune-up for the annual INFORMS conference, which this year is taking place in Houston, Texas, October 22-25. Given the horrific impact of Hurricane Harvey there it will be a memorable experience, I am sure. In this year's tune-up there are 5 doctoral student speakers who will be presenting the papers that they will also be giving in Houston. It's a wonderful way in which to share research and to get positive feedback on presentation skills. The breadth of topics illustrates the wide reach of Operations Research! The doctoral students who are presenting are from the Isenberg School of Management (and are in the Management Science PhD track) and the College of Engineering (Industrial Engineering). Two of my doctoral students, Deniz Besik (the current chapter president) and Pritha Dutta (the immediately preceding chapter President), will be speaking. Also, presenting are doctoral students of Professor Erin Baker and Professor Chaitra Gopalappa.
It will be a very exciting INFORMS Houston conference, since our student chapter, which I have served as a Faculty Advisor of since its inception in 2004, will be receiving its 12th consecutive award from INFORMS there - the Magna Cum Laude Award for its activities in the previous year!

And, the Friday after the INFORMS Houston conference, we will be hosting Dr. Shannon Roberts of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass Amherst. She will be speaking on driving safety and social networks - another extremely timely talk!
On November 3, I am delighted that Professor Dmytro Matsypura of the University of Sydney School of Business in beautiful Australia will be speaking in our series at the Isenberg School!  Dr. Matsypura was my PhD student and is also a Center Associate of the Supernetwork Center that I founded in 2001. He is on sabbatical this term and will be speaking on wildfire fuel management. Given the horrific fires now blanketing northern California, this is also a talk not to be missed!
Many thanks to the wonderful officers of the award-winning UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter as well as to its members for enriching the intellectual climate of our campus and broader community through  myriad exciting activities!

All of the above talks are open to the public.