Sunday, December 23, 2018

Congratulations and Kudos to the Supernetwork Team at the Isenberg School of Management for a Great 2018 Year!

Every year, at this time, as the Center Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, I prepare a Congratulations and Kudos piece on the Supernetwork Team.

2018 was another exceptional year for the Supernetwork Team, one in which we continued to make a global impact through fundamental network research with a wide range of applications and activities! It is an honor to highlight some of the accomplishments and achievements of the Center Associates of the Virtual Center for Supernetwork in the past year.
The book, Dynamics of Disasters: Algorithmic Approaches and Applications, which I co-edited with Professor Ilias S. Kotsireas of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and Professor Panos M. Pardalos of the University of Florida, was published by Springer. The collection of refereed chapters includes several papers presented at the Dynamics of Disaster conference in the summer of 2017 in Kalamata, Greece, by Center Associates, including: Advances in Disaster Communications: Broadband Systems for First Responders by Dr. Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford, and A Variational Equilibrium Network Framework for Humanitarian Organizations in Disaster Relief: Effective Product Delivery Under Competition for Financial Funds, which I co-authored with  Dr. Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania in Italy, Emilio Alvarez Flores of Cisco, and Professor Daniele's former doctoral student, Valeria Caruso. Also, while at the conference, a wonderful collaboration was initiated with Professor Tina Wakolbinger of the Vienna University of Economics and Business and her doctoral student Timo Gossler, which resulted in the paper,  How to Increase the Impact of Disaster Relief: A Study of Transportation Rates, Framework Agreements and Product Distribution, published open access in the European Journal of Operational Research, and co-authored with Professor Patrizia Daniele and me.

A big congratulations to Professor Tina Wakolbinger, who was selected as one of two keynote speakers for the 50th Anniversary Celebration  of the PhD Program of the Isenberg School of Management, which will take place on April 5, 2019. The other keynote speaker is Dr. Dennis Hanno, the President of Wheaton College in Massachusetts. I have organized a panel of our Management Science PhD alums, which will include Center Associate Professor Patrick Qiang of Penn State University Great Valley and Center Associate Dr. Padma Ramanujam of SAS!

Also, a delightful collaboration of four females, resulted in the paper, Cybersecurity Investments with Nonlinear Budget Constraints and Conservation Laws: Variational Equilibrium, Marginal Expected Utilities, and Lagrange Multipliers, Gabriella Colajanni (Professor Daniele's doctoral student), Patrizia Daniele, Professor Sofia Giuffre, and me, published in the International Transactions in Operational Research in 2018! Special thanks to Professor Patrizia Daniele for co-organizing an incredible conference: Variational Inequalities, Nash Equilibrium Problems and Applications, March 8-9, 2018, in Reggio Calabria, Italy, which took place in a castle! I had a marvelous time being a keynote speaker and taking part in this exceptional scientific conference.

Center Associates had numerous speaking engagements at conferences globally as well as many invited seminar talks. Professors Daniele, Wakolbinger, and Jose Cruz presented at the 29th European Conference On Operational Research, EURO2018, Valencia, Spain, July 8-11, 2018 and I had the pleasure, as did Doctoral Student Center Associate Pritha Dutta, to  present at the CORS Conference in Halifax, Canada!

And, speaking of doctoral students, congratulations also to Deniz Besik, on the acceptance of her paper, Tariffs and Quotas in World Trade: A Unified Variational Inequality Framework, in the European Journal of Operational Research, which was co-authored with Professor June Dong of SUNY Oswego and me. This work began last summer when I was back at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University as a Summer Fellow and it was tremendous to have Professors June Dong, Amir M. Masoumi of Manhattan College, and Michelle Li  visit, as well as my doctoral students Pritha Dutta and Deniz Besik. A big congratulations also to Deniz, who served as last year's President of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and, this past November, the chapter was recognized with its 12th consecutive award from INFORMS at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix for its activities. Very active officers include Doctoral Student Center Associates Pritha Dutta and Mojtaba Salarpour. Congratulations also to Pritha on the acceptance of two papers: Supply Chain Network Competition Among Blood Service Organizations: A Generalized Nash Equilibrium Framework, in press in the Annals of Operations Research, and Competition for Blood Donations, in press in Omega. Pritha successfully defended her doctoral dissertation proposal this past semester and also took part in the INFORMS Future Academicians Doctoral Colloquium just prior to the INFORMS Conference in Phoenix in November. Deniz also had a co-authored paper published in Chaos, which was an Editor's Pick.

Kudos to Center Associate Dr. Michelle Li on her move to Babson College as an Assistant Professor. Babson is considered the top entrepreneurial college in the world! Also, congratulations to her on the publication of the paper, The Sustainable Supply Chain Network Competition with Environmental Tax Policies, co-authored with Center Associates Professor Min Yu of the University of Portland and Jose Cruz of the University of Connecticut! In addition, congrats on the publication of our co-authored paper, Consumer Learning of Product Quality with Time Delay: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Models with Differentiated Products, also with Dr. Yu, in Omega.

Kudos to Center Associate Dr. Sara Saberi of the Foisie School of Business at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, who is lead author of the paper, A Competitive Multiperiod Supply Chain Network Model with Freight Carriers and Green Technology Investment Option, with Center Associate Dr. Jose M. Cruz of the University of Connecticut, her colleague, Dr. Joe Sarkis, and me, which was published in the European Journal of Operational Research. Congratulations also to Dr. Saberi on the publication of her paper, Sustainable, Multiperiod Supply Chain Network Model with Freight Carrier Through Reduction in Pollution Stock in Transportation Research E! Sara is now conducting research with support from several grants and is an elected Officer of WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences).

Congratulations to Center Associate Dr. Shivani Shukla, of the University of San Francisco, who, along with Dr. Sara Saberi and Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney, and me, had the paper, A Game Theory Model for Freight Service Provision Security Investments for High-Value Cargo, published in the Economics of Transportation.

The INFORMS Phoenix conference, November 4-7, 2018 served as a terrific venue for many Center Associates to reconvene, with participants and speakers including Center Associates: Professor Patrick Qiang of Pennsylvania State University Great Valley,  Professor Amir H. Masoumi of Manhattan College, Professor Min Yu of the University of Portland, Professor Dmytro Matsypura of the University of Sydney in Australia, Professor Jose M. Cruz of the University of Connecticut, Professor Dong Li of Babson, Professor Sara Saberi, and Professor Shivani Shukla as well as Deniz Besik and Pritha Dutta. At the conference I was deeply honored in being selected and delivering the Omega Rho Distinguished Lecture: Networks to Save the World: OR in Action. Special thanks also to Lancaster University in England, where I not only gave a course last March, but also was the plenary speaker in September for the 60th anniversary conference: OR60, and at the Early Career Researcher Workshop. The OR Society kindly made a videotape of my plenary talk and it is now posted on youtube.

Below are links to examples of some of our recent publications:
Tariffs and Quotas in World Trade: A Unified Variational Inequality Framework
Anna Nagurney, Deniz Besik, and June Dong, in press in the European Journal of Operational Research.

A Game Theory Model for Freight Service Provision Security Investments for High-Value Cargo
Anna Nagurney, Shivani Shukla, Ladimer S. Nagurney, and Sara Saberi, Economics of Transportation 16: (2018), pp 21-28.

Anna Nagurney and Pritha Dutta, to appear in the Annals of Operations Research.

Competition for Blood Donations
Anna Nagurney and Pritha Dutta, in press in Omega. 

Thanks for the support! We wish everyone a Fabulous New 2019 Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Celebration at the Isenberg School

For students and faculty alike, the month of December is a very busy time with final exams, projects and papers due, and for the faculty - grading!

It is also a month for celebrations and recently we held our end of the semester UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter party, which has become a wonderful tradition.
The food was exceptional with cuisines (some of it even homemade) from around the world - from Indian and Chinese food to Ukrainian food and, of course, Italian food in the form of pizza and cookies!
This was a very special semester (and year) in which the Student Chapter received its 12th consecutive award from INFORMS at the annual meeting in Phoenix in November - the Cum Laude Award; we hosted several great speakers, and, most importantly, we have continued to build and nurture a warm and supportive community for Operations Research and Analytics and Management Science at UMass Amherst!
As several faculty and students remarked to me afterwards (even several days post the party) - the event was so relaxing and we had such a great time!

It is quite the logistical exercise to have the food purchased and picked up so that the warm food stays warm and the same for the cold - although given the temperature that day the latter was much easier!

It is also a great event during which to catch up with faculty and students from across campus - from Engineering and Computer Science, in addition to the Isenberg School folks.
Many thanks to Professors Arora, Balasubramanian, Gonzales, Gopalappa, Ladimer S. Nagurney, and Shirley Shmerling for coming to the party and also to Associate Dean Erin Baker! Your presence means a tremendous amount to the students.

The attendees were like the United Nations: born in Canada, China, Greece, India, Iran, Mexico, Turkey, Nigeria, and even the USA!

A big thanks also to the Chapter Officers for making this event a big success. I look forward as the Chapter's Faculty Advisor to a great Spring 2019 semester with several speakers already set. More photos can be found here.
With warm wishes for a great holiday season and a Very Happy New 2019 Year!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Fabulous Talk by Professor Mike Knodler on Transportation Safety and Operations with Cake Before!

Today we had the pleasure of hearing Professor Mike Knodler from the UMass Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering speak in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series.
Dr. Knodler in the Director of the UMass Transportation Center, which includes the UMass traffic Safety Research program. We were all very much looking forward to his presentation and it was fascinating and very dynamic!

The morning began with a celebration of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter's receipt of the Cum Laude Award from INFORMS at the INFORMS Conference in Phoenix, earlier this month, complete with a cake.
And we took a photo of the officers present.
It was great for the audience to have a chance to mingle with the speaker and one another before the presentation.
 And we enjoyed Dr. Knodler's Transportation Center socks - great branding!

Professor Knodler was introduced by this year's Chapter President, Katerina Deliali.

Professor Knodler began his presentation with the question: "What is OR (Operations Research)?" and stated that their work in transportation is to get OR into practice. He emphasized the incredible diversity of transportation and that the Center has 100 different funded topics in 60 different areas. The UMass Transportation Center links researchers with practitioners and now even includes an Aviation Center with an air traffic control simulator. Several of those affiliated with the Center are also conducting research on drones.
In his presentation he described some of the innovations to enhance traffic safety from signals to infrastructure design and also emphasized that recently the number of traffic deaths have been increasing in the US. He highlighted the many different modes of transportation introduced fairly recently, from electric bikes and scooters to under development, even hovercraft. He also spoke about complete streets and complete networks.

A highlight was when he brought out a Segway (and then another one was delivered) and brave members in the audience had the opportunity to ride one.

What very much impressed me was how the research done at the Transportation Center has become policy not only in the state of Massachusetts but even nationally.

After the great presentation and exciting Q&A we took a group photo.

Then it was time for lunch at the University Club and continuing conversations. Professor Knodler, though, had a meeting, and had to miss the desserts.
We thank Professor Knodler for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to share with us the exciting contributions of his research group and the UMass Amherst Transportation Center!

For more photos, do check out the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter writeup by Haris Csipetas.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Advising PhD Students - Insights from Panelists at INFORMS in Phoenix

I wish that some (many, frankly) sessions at the great INFORMS Conference in Phoenix, November 4-7, 2018 could have been recorded and placed online so that the information/knowledge could be captured and shared much more broadly.

For example, on November 6, bright and early, at 7:30AM, I had the pleasure of taking part in a panel under the auspices of  the Junior Faculty Interest Group (JFIG) of INFORMS on Advising PhD Students. I was very much looking forward to this panel - to hearing insights from the other panelists and also the questions from the audience and the discussions that would take place.

The other panelists were Professors Sergiy Butenko and Joe Geunes of Texas A&M.  The panel was organized by Professors Chrysafis Vogiatzis and Ehsan Salari, who are JFIG Officers. The full list of JFIG officers can be viewed here.
In the above photo are: Dr. Salari, Dr. Anahita Khojandi, the JFIG President, Dr. Geunes, Dr. Butenko, Dr. Vogiatzis, and yours truly.

The panel began with my presentation, followed by a presentation by Professor Geunes, and then one by Professor Butenko. My perspective was that of a Business School faculty member (although I have also supervised several dissertations from Engineering at UMass Amherst) and the other panelists provided their perspectives as Engineering faculty.  All of us have graduated over a dozen PhD students. My list of 20 PhD students, whose dissertation committees I have chaired, are featured below, thanks to the Mathematical Genealogy project.

In fact, when I was a junior faculty member, I approached Dr. Alexander Rinooy Kan of  The Netherlands and asked him what advice would he give me and he told me, as I have stated in the above slide: "build your network and do this by graduating PhD students." I mentioned in my talk that one of the greatest compliments that I have received was from a senior colleague at a top research university who said that most advisors graduate one or two very successful PhD students, and he was very impressed by how successful many of my former doctoral students are. Indeed, I am a very proud academic Mom, and, what thrills me, as well, is how many of my former doctoral students continue to work and publish with one another - even if they did not overlap as students! The camaraderie and esprit de corps I try to nurture through the Virtual Center for Supernetworks.

My full presentation can be downloaded here.

The panelists described how they supervise/manage their doctoral students and their research, how often they meet with their students, the importance of having students submit papers to journals during their doctoral studies, and even how doctoral students have "changed" over the years. Different panelists noted that they give different degrees of  "freedom" to their doctoral students in terms of topic and research directions, with some beginning as "macromanagers" and then moving to "micromanaging." The coursework, major milestone exam requirements, and teaching requirements at business schools versus engineering schools, were also highlighted as well as how to nurture a student's strengths and how to overcome weaknesses. It was clear that the panelists' experiences with their doctoral dissertation advisors influenced how they mentor/supervise their own students now.

Audience questions ranged from how a faculty member learns to keep a professional distance, despite youth, and the order of authors on a publication.

I personally believe - and this I emphasized in my presentation - that doctoral students need to develop/grow their skill sets not only in terms of research expertise but also their teaching and service skills (including leadership skills). As for the development of service skills, I emphasized the opportunities provided by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, whether in hosting speakers, or even organizing social events and field trips. In fact, officer activities often comes up when students are on the academic job market. To be a successful academic who have to be able to perform at a very high level in all areas of research, teaching, and service (with service to a lesser extent early in one's career).

The panelists clearly showed the passion that they have in supervising doctoral students and even emphasized that they consider this to be their most important role as faculty members.

And the panel organizers even presented the panelists with a JFIG mug - many thanks for organizing this interesting panel and also for the thoughtfulness!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thoroughly Enjoyed Giving the Omega Rho Plenary Lecture - Networks to Save the World: Operations Research (OR) in Action

Professor Tim Anderson, the President of the Omega Rho Society, with an illustrious board, had reached out to me many months ago and shared with me that it was being  recommended that I be the 2018 Omega Rho Distinguished Lecturer. This would involve giving a plenary address at the INFORMS 2018 meeting in Phoenix, November 4-7. I was greatly honored and delighted and was subsequently officially notified (after further approvals) by the conference organizing committee and the plenary and keynote chairs. The general chair of this year's conference was Dr. Young-Jun Son, Professor and Head of the Systems and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona, who deserves kudos!

The list of previous Omega Rho plenary speakers can be viewed here and it is truly a list of luminaries. I have had the pleasure of being at several of these distinguished lectures over the years.

I would be standing on the "shoulders of giants" so I wanted to deliver a talk that would be inspiring, from the heart, very informative; one that I would enjoy giving and that the audience would enjoy as well! The title that I selected was: Networks to Save the World: OR in Action. This was an exceptional INFORMS conference for numerous reasons, including  the number of female plenary and keynote speakers.

I had worked on my presentation over many weeks, giving it a lot of thought and effort and was very excited for the opportunity to share experiences and insights with operations research and analytics colleagues from around the globe, from students to very senior colleagues.

After a full day of travel on Saturday, I was very "pumped" for my talk at 3:10PM (my body clock said it was 6:10PM). It was extra special to see so many of our UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management PhD alumni and also College of Engineering alumni showing up early to welcome me in the big ballroom. It was also great to have two of my present doctoral students, Deniz Besik and Pritha Dutta, come with backups of my talk and they also served as photographers.
 Professor Tim Anderson gave a very warm introduction and then it was time for my lecture!
I had to acknowledge the work of my dissertation advisor at Brown University, Professor Stella Dafermos, depicted in the above slide. I also included in my talk the awesome academic pedigree that I am part of - thanks to the Mathematics academic genealogy project with the outstanding scientists: Maxwell, going back to Newton, and even Galileo, being part of my academic genealogy.

In my talk, I discussed many application of networks from transportation and the Braess paradox to perishable product supply chains from food to healthcare to disaster relief and even our project on Future Internet Architecture, known as ChoiceNet.
After my presentation, I had many questions, and it was thrilling to have members of the audience come up to chat. I can't thank everyone personally, but I do want to say that I am extremely appreciative. I am also very grateful for the thoughtful gift presented to me after my lecture by Professor Tim Anderson and INFORMS! Special thanks to the INFORMS staff who came to my plenary talk and for their kind comments that they enjoyed it very much.
As promised, I have posted the slides from my Omega Rho plenary talk on the Supernetwork Center website.

A big thanks to Zulqarnain Haider for writing a blogpost on my plenary on the conference website.

After the plenary, it was time for an editorial board meeting and then I wrapped up a perfect day by hosting my doctoral students (both past and present) who had made it to the conference by Sunday (others were coming on subsequent days) for dinner.
In the above photo are: Dr. Jose Cruz, Dr. Shivani Shukla, Dr. Min Yu, Dr. Amir Masoumi, Deniz Besik, Pritha Dutta, Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, who traveled all the way from Sydney, Australia, and even brought his doctoral student, Jessica. It was her first INFORMS conference and her first scholarly presentation.

The past, present, and future of OR are a powerful network of scholarship and community! I am so lucky to be part of INFORMS and this fabulous profession.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Marking the Retirement of a Great Isenberg School Finance Colleague - Professor Ben Branch

Last evening we had the honor of taking part in the retirement party of my Isenberg School of Management Finance colleague, Professor Ben Branch. The reception and dinner took place at the Marriott Center at the UMass Amherst Campus Center.

Professor Ben Branch, who received his PhD from the U. of Michigan in 1970,  has been on the Isenberg School faculty since 1975 and he is still teaching a class this semester. He is renowned for his work on investments and bankruptcy. In 2007, I had nominated him for the UMass Amherst Faculty Distinguished Lectureship, which he received. He and I were one of the very few Isenberg School faculty recognized in this wonderful way.

The evening was a fitting tribute to a true "gentleman-scholar," one who arrived at his office at 6:30AM, sometimes with his dog, and whose kindness helped to support multiple faculty and not only in his Finance Department. Professor Branch I had met when I was interviewed at UMass and he was one of about 20 faculty that attended my interview at the Lord Jeffery Inn in Amherst. 
When my daughter was born, he and his wife were among the first to come visit us in our hone to celebrate. He is always very dapper, and, in his wardrobe, he has about 40 bowties, so yesterday, as a tribute, my husband also wore one in his honor.
When I joined the faculty at the Isenberg School, our department was the Department of General Business and Finance, so my Finance colleagues were always there for me. The department has gone through various renamings and now we are two departments; Finance Department and the Operations and Information Management Department. Several present and former chairs of these departments also came to pay tribute including: Professors Iqbal Ali, Sanjay Nawalkha, and Nelson Lacey, who was a terrific Master of Ceremonies.
In the above photos are: Professor Ali, my husband and I, Finance colleagues: Professors Fousseni Chabi-Yo, Mila Sherman (the first female Full Professor in Finance, who acknowledged Ben's support, and Nikos Artavanis, who traveled from Virginia Tech for the retirement party, where he is now a Visiting Professor. We saw him last week in Blacksburg!
Joining the bowties in the above photo is Professor Hossein Kazemi, the Director of CISDM.

Several retired faculty (including Professors Charlie Schewe and Tony Butterfield) showed up to honor Ben as well as faculty and staff from other departments, including Professors Easwar Iyer and  Jennifer Merton, which was wonderful. Our Interim Dean, Tom Moliterno spoke, as did Professor Hossein Kazemi, who gave a hysterical rendition of how he was interviewed by Ben and got the job (and we had a walk down memory lane with both Dr. Alex Barges and Dr. Craig Moore mentioned). Several of his former doctoral students also came, including one who traveled all the way from California to honor his dissertation advisor. Professor Branch shared with us how proud he is of his former doctoral students. I enjoyed Professor Larry Zacharias' tribute very much. He noted not only Professor Branch's intellect and his interests in politics, but also how he studied astronomy and very early in the morning (about 3AM) he would go to observe and visit the beavers close to his home.
Professor Nelson Lacey presented the honoree with a gift.

Professor Branch wanted to have the last words and they were very touching, emphasizing the long way that our business school has come since his arrival over four decades ago. In the 1970s there was even a typing pool and computing was done with the use of punch cards.

Ben loves my borshcht, so in honor of him I have a huge pot on now and he and his family are welcome any time.

Thank you, Professor Ben Branch, for being such a special colleague of so many of us over so many years! You will always be a part of the Isenberg School of Management.