Saturday, June 29, 2019

The EURO 2019 Conference in Dublin Brings Operations Researchers Together From Around the Globe

The fabulous EURO 2019 conference, which took place June 23-26 at UCD in Dublin, Ireland is now over but the impact of the scientific exchanges, the renewal of friendships and new ones made, along with wonderful memories, will sustain many for a long time to come.

It was a conference that included tutorials, keynote talks, numerous fascinating and very timely panels, as well as scientific paper presentations on Operations Research. The organizers and organizing committee are congratulated on the success of the conference. Special thanks to Professors Sean McGarraghy and Luis Eduardo Neves Gouveia, the conference chairs, for even sending me a personal thank you this morning for my tutorial at the conference!

From the very beginning of our arrival in Dublin, there were numerous surprises - upon our arrival, we saw Melissa Moore, the Executive Director of INFORMS, and, soon thereafter, Mary Magrogan of INFORMS. The organizers had put many of the invited speakers up at the lovely Radisson Blu hotel, in walking distance of the university. It was, hence, very special, to be seeing colleagues from many countries at breakfast, including IFORS President Professor Maria Grazia Speranza, or on the lovely grounds, including Professor Kash Barker, in the photo with me below!
One aspect of the conference that I very much enjoyed was seeing my former doctoral students, now professors, Dr. Sara Saberi of WPI in the USA and Dr. Dmytro Matsypura of the University of Sydney in Australia, along with my long-time collaborator, Professor Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania in Italy, who was also a member of the organizing committee.
I had a packed schedule. Monday afternoon of the conference, I was a panelist on the Women in OR panel, which had a terrific audience and discussions. Below I am standing with Professors Christina Phillips and Paula Carroll next to the lovely flowers.
This EURO conference was especially thrilling since Professor Martine Labbe, in the photo above next to me, who was also on the Women in OR panel, was named the first female recipient of the EURO Gold Medal award! We are standing next to Professors Maria Paola Scaparra and Annunziata Esposito Amideo.

And, we even had a male on this panel - Professor Daniele Vigo! Many thanks to the audience, including quite a few males, for their insights and suggestions as to how we can build a stronger community of nurturing females (as well as other less represented groups) in Operations Research and in science, in general! I do believe that we have started to strengthen our community in this regard and I also especially recognized WORMS - Women in Operations Research and the Management Science, a forum of INFORMS.

Earlier on Monday, we had an editorial board meeting of the Wiley journal, International Transactions in Operational Research, expertly edited by Professor Celso Ribeiro of Brazil. A photo of those in attendance is below (some had talks to give at the same time, and they were missed, including Dr. Mauricio Resende).
Also, among the award recipients at EURO was Dr. Paolo Toth and he is the rightmost figure in the photo above. It was delightful to see so many colleagues from multiple continents. I wish there had been more time to chat with everyone, including Professor Laura Albert of the University of Wisconsin Madison! I very much appreciated the lovely flowers and thoughtfulness of the organizers with even a gift presented to me after my tutorial on Tuesday morning, from 8:30-10AM.
Due to many requests, my tutorial slides can be downloaded from here. Special thanks to Professor Matthias Ehrgott, a member of the EURO organizing committee, for his wonderful introduction of me at my tutorial. I have known Professor Ehrgott for many years and have delightful memories of dining with him not only in the UK but even in New Zealand.

Many thanks to all those who came to my tutorial, including Professors Roman Slowinski and Roman Snajder! My father's name was also Roman.
Also, on Tuesday, I heard that several outstanding colleagues, several of whom were at EURO Dublin, including Dr. Stephan Onggo, had received large grants from EPSCR! It was such a happy day! Below I am standing with Dr. Onggo, whom I had the pleasure of personally congratulating. There will be great continuing research done on disaster relief and healthcare!

It was terrific to see our most recent Dynamics of Disaster book on display at the Springer booth at the conference. Below I am standing with Springer Senior Editor Christian Rauscher.

And, I love the element of surprise and serendipity that one often experiences at an international conference. In walking outside after my tutorial I saw a colleague from UMass Amherst, Professor Maciej Ciesielski of the College of Engineering, who wanted to attend my tutorial but took the bus to DCU rather than UCD and missed it!.
Tuesday night was the conference gala banquet at the Aviva rugby stadium, which was a very interesting experience at which I even got to see Professor Ann Campbell and her family who traveled all the way from Iowa! And it was wonderful to also see a collaborator of Ann's, Professor Jan Ehmke, who had been my host at an OR conference in Berlin two Septembers ago!
 On Wednesday morning (at 8:30AM), I spoke at the Making an Impact panel, which was part of a stream of sessions.  I had been invited just the week before by Dr. Joachim Gromicho because another panelist had a medical emergency. Photos of the panelists and of some audience members  are below. I was very impressed by the energy, enthusiasm, and wisdom of all at this event.

And, on Wednesday afternoon, it was time for a session on supply chains that I had organized. Dr. Saberi spoke on her latest work on sustainable supply chains and freight and I delivered a paper just accepted for publication in the Journal of Global Optimization on tariffs and world trade, co-authored with Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney, and my Isenberg School of Management doctoral student Deniz Besik. We had an audience of researchers from the US, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, and France at our session!

And, would you believe, on our last morning in Dublin, before I spoke at IBM, I met at breakfast Dr. Sarah Marie Jordaan, a Professor at Johns Hopkins, whose brother is a colleague at UMass Amherst. She had even recently hosted one of our doctoral students there, who will soon be a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Destenie Nock. It is truly a fabulous Operations Research world!

Then, on Thursday morning, I was off to give a talk at IBM Dublin, and then onwards to additional conferences, with a weekend in beautiful London.
Many thanks to Dr. Rahul Nair and to Dr. Sergiy Zhuk of IBM for their outstanding hospitality and great discussions of their amazing research!

And, at the Dublin airport, who was at a neighboring gate - my collaborator, Professor Patrizia Daniele, heading back home to Catania, Italy!
My next conference is in Greece - the 4th International Conference on Dynamics of Disasters, which I co-organized (again) with Professors Pardalos and Kotsireas. It will be hot there!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Very Excited About Speaking at Multiple Operations Research Conferences in Europe - from North to South!

Since returning from the fabulous NetSci conference in Burlington, Vermont, which I blogged about, I have been finalizing the talks that I will be giving at conferences over the next few weeks in Europe.

Next Sunday, the EURO Dublin 2019 conference begins, at University College Dublin. This conference will convene academics, practitioners, and students from around the globe and I can hardly contain my excitement. I am so looking forward to seeing many colleagues as well as former doctoral students, including Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, who will be traveling from the University of Sydney in Australia!
In addition to fabulous tutorials, plenary talks, and sessions, I am looking forward to a journal editorial board meeting next Monday for the journal International Transactions in Operational Research, expertly edited by Professor Celso Ribeiro  and a panel that day on Women in OR.

I was planning on attending a special banquet next Monday evening, but with my tutorial on Tuesday, bright and early at 8:30AM, I had to decline the invitation. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver this tutorial and am very grateful to the EURO Dublin conference organizers!
Next Tuesday evening, there will be the conference banquet, and, on Wednesday morning (there is certainly a "bright and early" theme here), I agreed to be on another panel (just this morning) on Making and Impact with OR, as part of the stream on this theme. The invitation came from Dr. Joaquim Gromicho, and this panel will be chaired by Dr. Cathal MacSwiney Brugha. And, on Tuesday, afternoon, I will be speaking on some of our research on tariffs in a session that I organized.

Then, after giving a talk at IBM in Dublin on Thursday, which I am very much looking forward to, we will journey through several countries for the Dynamics of Disasters conference in Greece, that I co-organized with Professors Ilias S. Kotsireas and Panos M. Pardalos. At the Dynamics of Disasters conference, I will present some of our latest research on humanitarian logistics and disaster relief.The research was done with one of my doctoral students, Mojtaba Salarpour, and Professor Patrizia Daniele, who was on the organizing committee of the EURO Dublin conference!

The last conference that I will be speaking at in Europe over this three week period is the World Congress on Global Optimization (WCGO), where I have the honor of delivering a plenary talk (there is also some additional good news that will be officially announced at this conference).
And, coincidentally, when I will be at WCGO in France, my co-author, Dr. Ken Calvert, will be speaking on our Internet research with Professors Tilman Wolf and Jim Griffioen in Dallas at the ICDCS2019 conference.

So, for the non-academics out there, these are just some of the types of activities that faculty keep themselves very busy with during the summer months.

Now, I am working on optimizing the packing of a carry-on suitcase for all the professional  travel in both the north and south of Europe.

Monday, June 3, 2019

A Very Special Network Science Conference in Beautiful Burlington, Vermont

The wonderful message arrived on March 30, 2019. It was from Dr. Adilson E. Motter, the Morrison Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University.

He was writing to inform me that I was elected a Fellow of the Network Science Society, Class of 2019, and that the award ceremony would be taking place at a banquet during the International Conference on Network Science, in Burlington, Vermont, May 29-31, 2019.  Would I be able to come?

I checked my schedule, and, luckily, I was available, and, given that Burlington is about a 4 hour drive from Amherst through beautiful landscapes, I accepted the invitation.

There was a news blackout on this good news until the award was officially announced on May 29.

Last week I had the wonderful experience of taking part in the conference, which attracted over 600 conferees from around the globe to the venue at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington. The Conference Chairs were: Professors Laurent Hebert-Dufresne and Peter S. Dodds of UVM, with Juniper Lovato, of the UVM Complex Systems Center, serving as the superb lead conference organizer. 

The drive up took place last Tuesday, on a cold, rainy day, but once we arrived in Burlington, the weather soon improved and it was absolutely lovely. The view from the hotel room of Lake Champlain was magnificent.

The building for the conference presentations was stunning.
I thoroughly enjoyed keynote talks by Drs. Duncan Watts, Mark E. Newman, Tina Eliassi, Michelle Girvan, and several others, with even the banquet keynote given by Dr. Emily Bernard. 
It was also very special to meet, face to face, such incredible network scientists as Dr. Vittoria Colizza, Dr. Guido Caldarelli, Dr. Raissa D'Souza, as well as Dr. Yamir Moreno, the President of the Network Science Society. Below I am standing with Professor Moreno.
This conference was especially timely for me, since for many weeks I have been working on an invited article for a special issue of the journal Networks, marking the 50th anniversary of its inception, and in the article I had integrated research from many disciplines, focusing on economic and financial networks. This paper has grown to 45 pages.

A clear highlight was the banquet last Wednesday night. We drove, but buses were arranged for those who needed a ride to the banquet location, which was the Mansfield Barn in Jericho, Vermont. Many conferees enjoyed being on a school bus, some for the very first time!
 Our conference was marked with a milk jug, a nice rustic touch.

At the banquet, Professor Claudia Wagner sat next to me. She had just been to UMass Amherst for a conference organized by my Computer Science colleague, Professor Andrew McCallum, having traveled from Cologne, Germany.  What a wonderful, small academic world it is. We had a lovely conversation since she is originally from Austria, and I had lived in Innsbruck with my family while on a Distinguished Fulbright.

The banquet food was delicious (impossible to get a bad meal in Burlington) and I was so honored and thrilled to be recognized with the Fellows Award.
More background on the Fellows Award, including the list of the inaugural Fellows, many of whom I am sure you will recognize, can be found here.

It was extra special receive the Fellow plaque from Professors Motter and Moreno.
The citation above reads: "For sustained contributions to network science, including the formulation, analysis, and computation of solutions to engineered network systems, from congested urban transportation to supply chains, under varied decision-making behaviors."

Also, so deservedly recognized at the banquet was Professor Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, the Founder of the Network Science Society.
The wonderful scientific talks, discussions, and the beauty of the location as well as the hospitality will stay with me. It's also terrific to have some NetSci2019 souvenirs!

Congratulations to the NetSci2019 conference organizers, the speakers, and to all the award recipients. NetSci2019 was truly special and I am very grateful. The love of networks is bringing many scientific disciplines and its researchers closer together for even more impactful contributions!