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!