Saturday, September 9, 2023

A Great Start to the New Academic Year and Our Research on UAVs!

 It was an exciting first week at UMass Amherst of the new 2022-2023 academic year.

I am delighted to again be teaching my Transportation & Logistics class this Fall. The students with their enthusiasm for a subject that I love keep me energized. And, this week, we discussed innovations in transportation technologies, including UAVs (sometimes referred to as drones).

Coincidentally, although last year, I had the great honor of giving a keynote at the outstanding Optimization and Decision Sciences conference (ODS 2022), which took place in Firenze (Florence), Italy, just before classes began, this year, I could not squeeze in this conference since it overlapped with the first week of classes. Nevertheless, I was delighted that my collaborators, Dr. Gabriella Colajanni and Professor Patrizia Daniele, both of the University of Catania, were able to attend and to present our latest work on UAVs. This year's ODS conference took place in another stunning location - Ischia! And, amazingly, we did the galleys for the paper on which our presentation was based this past Tuesday; the presentation took place on Wednesday, and our paper, "Centralized supply chain network optimization with UAV-based last mile deliveries," was published in the journal Transportation Research C this Thursday. It is open access and can be viewed here. The results therein demonstrate how a hybrid fleet can enhance profits and also reduce air pollution.

Professor Patrizia Daniele kindly sent me the photos below of Dr. Colajanni presenting our paper, a nice lunch get-together, and additional photos.

In the photos above are from l-r: Dr. Daniele Sciacca, Dr. Georgia Fargetta, Dr. Gabriella Colajanni, Professor Patrizia Daniele, and Professor Laura Scrimali. 

And just a few weeks ago, our paper on UAVs and 5G with a focus on three phases of disaster management, "A three-stage stochastic optimization model integrating 5G technology and UAVs for disaster management," was published in the Journal of Global Optimization. This paper is also open access and was co-authored with Dr. Gabriella Calajanni, Professor Patrizia Daniele,  Dr. Daniele Sciacca, and Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney. In the Spring semester, I teach a course on Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare, and we discuss the four phases of disaster management. Great to have such excellent collaborators to engage on such topic research with.

Monday, July 17, 2023

The Amazing IFORS Conference in Santiago, Chile

I hope that everyone who took part in the amazing IFORS Conference in Santiago, Chile, which took place July 10-14, 2023, has safely and comfortably returned to their home destinations.

The conference, which is a triennial one, was face to face and attracted over 700 presentations and 900 registrants from around the globe.

Kudos to the Co-Chairs of the Local Organizing Committee: Professors Rafael Epstein and Jorge Vera, and to the Chair of the Scientific Program - Professor Alice Smith and to their teams for putting together such an informative and rich scientific as well as social program. And even the weather cooperated - the winter while we were in Santiago was quite mild.

It has been an incredibly busy several weeks, since, shortly before the IFORS Conference, I had co-organized the Dynamics of Disasters Conference in Greece. 

It was so inspiring to see the great attendance and enthusiasm of the conferees and, I must add that, on my direct flight from Madrid to Santiago on Iberia, there were several conferees from Italy (Paolo Toth, Grazia Speranza, and Claudia Archetti) and, just after passport control, I had the pleasure of seeing the INFORMS President Laura Albert. It was wonderful to stroll to the conference venues and to be greeted and to share greetings with conferees. It was truly special to have exchanges with both Professors Tom Magnanti and Fred Hillier, luminaries in Operations Research.

The below collage was prepared as a memento of the conference.

I was thrilled to see my latest book, "Labor and Supply Chain Networks," on display at the Springer book at the exhibition hall at the conference and very much enjoyed speaking to the Springer Editors: Matt Amboy, Razia Amzad, and Jialin Yan. 

I also very much enjoyed the plenary and keynote sessions as well other sessions plus Editorial Board meetings of both the International Transactions in Operational Research (ITOR) and the European Journal of Operational Research (EJOR).

Many thanks to Celso C. Ribeiro, the Editor of ITOR, and to Roman Slowinski, the Editor of EJOR, for such informative meetings!

With the size of the conference and the two venues, I regret that I did not have a chance to speak with as many conferees as I would have liked to. Additional highlights included meeting colleagues that one had interacted with virtually in the pandemic and finally got to meet in person, including the amazing Anand Subramanian, the developer and interviewer behind the outstanding youtube series Subjectto_

And Professor Subrmanian, with some assistance, brought 16 of his special mugs, to present those who were at the conference and had had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed by him! I will treasure my mug. He has, to-date conducted 72 interviews - an extraordinary effort of historical scientific value.

I'd like to thank Professor Margaret Brandeau for her warm introduction to my keynote talk and I am grateful to all those who came to my presentation. I am grateful to my UMass Amherst engineering colleague Professor Chaitra Gopalappa for taking the photo below.

It was wonderful to also see my UMass Amherst engineering colleague Professor Hari Balasubramanian, who, with his wife, were at the same hotel as I in Santiago - the Ismael Hotel.

Some resilience on my part was required, since as I was shampooing my hair, with a head full of lather, the hotel had a pipe break, and there was no water. This happened about 2 hours before my keynote. Resilience comes with being Ukrainian.

I have posted the slide deck of my keynote on the Virtual Center for Supernetworks website. In my keynote, I spoke about, among other work, recent research done with my Isenberg School of Management PhD student Dana Hassani and colleagues at the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine Oleg Nivievskyi and Pavlo Martyshev, which was published in the Journal of Global Optimization.

It was truly special to have my former Isenberg School of Management PhD student, Dmytro Matsypura, who is head of the Business Analytics Department at the University of Sydney in Australia come to my keynote as well as Professor Renata Konrad on WPI and Professor Moldovan of Romania.

Many thanks to IFORS for the incredible work on this conference! The conference website can be accessed here.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Thanks to ALL Who Took Part in Our International Conference on Dynamics of Disasters in Greece

It has been an incredibly busy, yet energizing, several few weeks with two international conferences on different continents and different seasons (summer and winter).

I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all those who took part in the 6th International Conference on Dynamics of Disasters, which took place in Piraeus, Greece, July 3-6, 2023.

The below collage was constructed to capture a few of the highlights.

The venue of the conference was the Historical Library of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation in Piraeus.

We had the pleasure of hearing from outstanding plenary speakers, both practitioners and academics.

It was inspiring to see conferees representing many different countries including: Austria, Germany, Nepal, Japan, Canada, Greece,  Italy, Turkey, the UK, and the US.

In a period in history with compounding disasters, the exchange of knowledge and best practices and working together to address the great challenges that we are faced with are needed more than ever.

Information about the conference, including the presenters and their talk titles can be found on the conference website.

I had the pleasure of presenting work done with my PhD student at the Isenberg School of Management Dana Hassani and colleagues at the Kyiv School of Economics: Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev. The link to the slidedeck of the presentation can be accessed here.

Not everyone could join us because of visa and other extenuating circumstances. Sadly, in April, Professor Urmila Pyakurel of Nepal passed away. She was an avid participant in our previous Dynamics of Disasters conference. We paid a tribute to her in Piraeus. A PhD student of hers presented on their joint work. Urmila lost her life to cancer, which she had battled for many years. She was also a Humboldtian. You can read about some aspects of her amazing life here.

And, while I was at the IFORS conference in Santiago, Chile, July 10-14, 2023, at which I gave a keynote, we heard from Springer Nature that we are getting a contract to edit the volume: "Dynamics of Disasters: From Natural Phenomena to Human Activity." My fellow Co-Editors on this project are: Professors Ilias S. Kotsireas, Panos M. Pardalos, Stefan Pickl, and Chrys Vogiatzis. It was a pleasure to work with them on the organization of this very timely conference.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Very Excited About the IFORS Conference in Santiago (Where It Is Winter) and the Dynamics of Disasters Conference in Athens (Where It Is Summer)

Academics are quite good at conferencing and also in optimizing when it comes to packing, etc. Nevertheless, packing for essentially back to back conferences on different continents and seasons can be a challenge especially if the plan is to only have a single carryon as luggage.

In 2006, I spoke at successive conferences in Cyprus (Limassol), Iceland (Reykjavik), and then in Italy (Erice). Family members joined me in Iceland and brought some warm clothing since the temperature, while we were there and it was officially summer, never rose about 48 degrees F. Some reflections on packing for the stream of conferences.

Soon I will be flying to Athens, Greece for the Dynamics of Disasters conference that I co-organized, and then, via Madrid, to the IFORS Conference in Santiago, Chile.

I am thrilled to be delivering a keynote talk, entitled, "Agricultural Supply Chain Networks: From Trade to Resilience and How OR Can Help," at the IFORS Conference.

My keynote will highlight some of our research over the past decade on agricultural supply chain networks including recent work with collaborators in Ukraine. Information on this conference can be found here. I am very honored to be on the list of plenary and keynote speakers.

Also, at the IFORS conference, I'll be taking part in the "Meet the ITOR Editors" panel, which was organized by the outstanding Editor of the International Transactions in Operational Research (ITOR) journal Celso C. Ribeiro! Joining us on the panel is the previous President of IFORS Grazia Speranza and Mario Guajardo. ITOR recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special issue. I was delighted to have my tutorial paper on ``Fragile Networks," co-authored with Qiang "Patrick" Qiang included in this special issue. The tutorial paper was based on a tutorial that I gave at the ALIO INFORMS conference in Buenos Aires.

I am very much looking forward to seeing conferees from many continents at this IFORS conference, including my former Isenberg School of Management PhD student, Dmytro Matsypura, who will travel from Australia. He is Chair of the Business Analytics Department at the University of Sydney. The President of IFORS is now Janny Leung and she is traveling from Macao!

And, prior to the IFORS conference, I will be experiencing the warmth of a Mediterranean summer at the Dynamics of Disasters Conference. We have an outstanding lineup of plenary speakers and I thank them all for accepting our invitations. This is the 6th Dynamics of Disasters Conference! It was such a pleasure to work with Ilias S. Kotsireas, Panos M. Pardalos, and Chrys Vogiatzis on this conference.

My presentation at this conference will be on joint work with my PhD student Dana Hassani and colleagues in Ukraine at the Kyiv School of Economics: Oleg Nivievskyi and Pavlo Martyshev.

There is clearly and agricultural theme to my presentations at both these international conferences. In fact, at the Dynamics of Disasters one, we also a special Acknowledgment and Dedication.

Back to packing for the conferences with my new suitcase purchased after I wore out my favorite one!

Safe travels to all those heading to conferences!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Thrilled and Honored to be Working with Colleagues in Ukraine

With Russia's war on Ukraine ongoing and resulting in tremendous suffering and loss of lives as well as destruction, one must do what one can to support Ukrainians and those fighting for their freedom and democracy.

As a daughter of Ukrainian WWII refugees, whose first language is Ukrainian, and, as an educator, the partnership between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) is forging outstanding connections across the miles during this very challenging period in history. The partnership is now supporting 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, 9 of whom are placed with Isenberg School of Management faculty. 

I am thrilled and deeply honored to be working now with colleagues in Ukraine. I would like to specifically thank the Isenberg School Dean Anne P. Massey and the Director of the International Programs Office and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at UMass Amherst Kalpen Trivedi for their outstanding support in making this partnership a reality and having it flourish since its inception over a year ago! Kudos also to Provost Emeritus John McCarthy for his support and to all the members of the Task Force who worked on forging this partnership. Special thanks to the KSE Rector Tymofiy Brik for his great work in making this partnership happen and also for visiting us in person on May 3!

Below is a photo taken with Rector Brik and Provost Emeritus McCarthy after dinner on May 3.

Some of the research with colleagues in Ukraine is also engaging a PhD student of mine - Dana Hassani. At the forthcoming Dynamics of Disasters conference, which will take place July 3-6, 2023,  in Athens, Greece (and which I am also co-organizing), I will present our latest work, "Multicommodity International Agricultural Trade Network Equilibrium: Competition for Limited Production and Transportation Capacity Under Disaster Scenarios with Implications for Food Security," co-authored with Dana and with KSE colleagues Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev.

Information on this conference is available here

This work builds on our paper, "Exchange Rates and Multicommodity International Trade: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Modeling with Policy Instruments via Variational Inequalities," which was recently published in the Journal of Global Optimization. That paper was presented at the PanOptic Conference in honor of Professor Panos M. Pardalos held March 9 and 10 in Gainesville, Florida.

We heard yesterday the good news that the above paper has been accepted for presentation at the INFORMS conference in Phoenix and Dana Hassani will present it.

And, with Professor Elena Besedina of KSE, I have co-authored a paper, "A Multicommodity Spatial Price Equilibrium Model with Non-Tariff Measures for Agri-Food International Trade."

In addition, Professor Myroslava Kushnir of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv more recently joined our program and we are excited to be collaborating now with her on various supply chains of relevance in Ukraine in wartime.

Below, I have posted a group photo from the May 3 symposium at UMass Amherst which featured the Virtual Scholars from the Isenberg School and also those from the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass Amherst.

In the photo from l-r are: Professors Muzzo Uysal, Lauren McCarthy, Rector Brik, yours truly, Professors Ina Ganguli, Alicia Johnson, Vice Provost Kalpen Trivedi, and Professor Bogdan Prokopovych. More information about the Virtual Scholars and their Faculty Hosts at the Isenberg School can be found on this link.

This partnership has worked towards reducing brain drain from Ukraine, enhancing research as well as friendships, and has also provided important financial and emotional support. More such partnerships are needed to support higher education in Ukraine, now and during the recovery and reconstruction. 

A press release by UMass Amherst on the partnership is available here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

A Conference that Ended in a Standing Ovation, Thanks to WPI!

How often have you experienced a standing ovation at the end of a conference?

I must admit that I had, for the first time, such an experience on June 2, 2023, at the outstanding Innovations in Immigration Analytics Conference at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. Kudos to the conference organizers: Dr. Geri Dimas (who will be an Assistant Professor at Bryant University, starting this Fall), and WPI Professors Andrew Trapp and Daniel Reichman.

The program, which can be viewed here, brought together faculty, practitioners, as well as students, who are very much engaged in issues of migration and immigration.

The format, consisting of individual presentations, lightning talks, as well as a panel, was excellent, and with coffee breaks and a delicious buffet lunch provided. And there were no registration fees!

The conference opened up with remarks by the WPI Provost Winston "Wole" Soboyejo, who set the stage for the importance of the issues and challenges that we discussed at the conference including: refugee resettlement, dynamic migrant flows and operational responses, matching refugees to employment opportunities, strategic border resource deployment challenges, and even the modeling of US immigration courts using discrete-event simulation.

My presentation was entitled, "Refugee Migration Networks with Regulations," and it has been posted on the Supernetwork Center site at the Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst

The presentation was based on a paper published in the Springer Nature Journal of Global Optimization and was co-authored by Professor Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania and Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford. 

I also spoke in my presentation on recent work on investing in immigration to alleviate labor shortages in supply chains and coalition formation among countries to address migrant issues. The former topic is a chapter in my latest book, "Labor and Supply Chain Networks," with info on the book here.

The latter topic was explored in a recently published paper that I co-authored with Professors Passacantando and Raciti and is available open access!

It was terrific to meet conferees with the passion and focus to address one of the greatest challenges of our time with 103 million people around the world having been forced to leave their homes. I was deeply touched to hear, time and time again, Ukraine mentioned at this conference and the impacts of Russia's war on it, including by Dean Debora Jackson of the WPI Business School in her brilliant closing remarks. Research matters and making it accessible to organizations, nonprofits, and governments can create positive change and truly benefit humanity. 

Below, I have posted a collage of photos from the conference. 

Many thanks to the organizers: Dr. Geri Dimas and Professors Andrew Trapp and Daniel Reichman for bringing us together in such a warm and engaging event. Much work remains to be done but, together, we can accomplish much good and we will.

And for those who are interested in additional work of ours on human migration networks, a topic that we have been researching for several decades, have a look at my post.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Some of the Highlights of the Great POMS Conference in Orlando!

I hope that everyone who took part in the POMS Conference in Orlando, which took place May 22-25, 2023, has returned safely to their homes. It was wonderful to be at this in-person POMS conference, the first such one since the 2019 POMS Conference, which took place in Washington DC.

I thought it important to document some of the highlights of the 33th Annual POMS Conference in Orlando, albeit, of course, from a personal perspective. I am sure that each conferee has their own special memories and experiences. This was truly an international conference and I was delighted to see and meet colleagues from many countries, including from The Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Finland, and even Brazil. Asia was also well-represented. 

I arrived mid-afternoon on Monday and at the Exhibit Hall I was thrilled to see Springer Nature Editor Matt Amboy and the display of Springer books. And there, on display, was my newest book, "Labor and Supply Chain Networks," which was published in 2023.

The venue for the conference was stunning - the Hyatt on International Drive.  The full program for the conference can be accessed here. Below is a photo of a late afternoon view taken from the 26th floor.
I enjoyed the keynote talk by Scott Colloredo, the Director of the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida (but sadly missed the keynote by Dr. Nada Sanders since I was traveling). It was interesting that the 2 keynote talks were both scheduled for last Monday. 

The sessions that I attended were organized in the Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management track and I especially appreciated the breadth of innovative problems that are being tackled and addressed. Below is a sample.

I thank Dr. Mohammad Arbabian for the invitation to speak in his session. Coincidentally, he is at the Pamplin School of Business at the University of Portland, where my former PhD student, now an Associate Professor there, Dr. Min Yu, is also on the faculty. It was wonderful that she came to our session. Below are photos of the speakers in our session, a group photo, and also a photo with some of the members of the audience. Thanks to all who joined us!

I also enjoyed a panel of editors of the POM journal.

Although there were many conferees that I did not got get a chance to see - the conference was quite large with over 2 dozen parallel sessions, I did, through pure serendipity, encounter and exchange pleasantries with Renzo Akkerman, whom I have cited in quite a few papers on perishable food supply chains co-authored with Min Yu and Deniz Besik (both of whom were in attendance at the conference).

It was also great to see Marianne Jahre of Norway and Sarah Schiffling, who is now at Hanken in Finland. I was with Marianne in Cartagena, Colombia, back in 2019, where we were both invited speakers at a logistics conference organized at the Escuela Naval. I blogged the conference and unique experiences there.

And, of course, sharing meals with Deniz Besik, who is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond, was terrific and also with Min Yu. It was great to have Ladimer S. Nagurney accompany me to the conference!

The title of my presentation at the conference was: "Supply Chain Game Theory Network Modeling Under Labor Constraints: Applications to the COVID-19 Pandemic." The presentation was based on a paper that I authored that was published in the European Journal of Operational Research. I was deeply honored when it received an Editor's Choice Award.

The complete slide deck of my presentation can be downloaded here.

Kudos to the staff at the Hyatt. Their friendliness and professionalism were so appreciated. I very much enjoyed meeting Alexandra from Haiti and Natalia from Lviv, Ukraine, who are working at The Diner at the Hyatt. It was very moving to speak with Natalia in Ukrainian. She had arrived in the US only 6 months ago.

And, it so happens that, next Friday, I will be giving the opening talk at the Innovations in Immigration Analytics Conference at WPI. My talk will be on refugee networks and regulations. Many thanks to Andrew Trapp for inviting me to speak.

And, for those wishing to walk down Memory Lane, please visit my blogpost on the POMS Conference in Washington DC!

Many thanks to the organizers of the POMS Conference for such a rewarding conference both scientifically and socially!