Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Honored to Have Played a Part in Influencing National Policy on Blood Supply Chains

For quite a few years, my research group and I have been very engaged in studying and writing about blood supply chains. Blood is a unique product that is life-saving and that cannot be produced but must be donated.

Our work on blood supply chains is part of our broader work on perishable product supply chains and we even wrote a book on the topic that was published a decade ago.

During this festive time of the year with the holiday season, there are also often blood shortages, and, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was greatly concerned about the shortages. One day after the WHO declared the pandemic, I published my article, "How coronavirus is upsetting the blood supply chain," in The Conversation. The article was reprinted on multiple news sites, from Live Science to Salon. 

I am deeply humbled and honored that my article on blood shortages in the COVID-19 pandemic, has influenced national policy not once, but twice. On March 31, 2023, 22 Attorneys General signed a memo to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf, and my article was cited first

The full memorandum can be accessed here.

Therein is also a citation to the April 22, 2020 memo from 20 Attorneys General, including Maura Healey, now our Massachusetts Governor, to the Honorable Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, at that time the Assistant Secretary for Health, with my article also as the first citation.

On May 11, 2023, the FDA finalized individual risk assessment guidelines for blood donation eligibility. 

In my discipline of Operations Research, as well as in Economics, we try to "Do Good" to improve social welfare and well-being. The tools that we use include analytical techniques, mathematical models, research studies, and, of course, education of students. However, as I often state in invited conference talks and seminars that I give,  it is also critical to get results out where they can be applied.

That is why I continue to write essays and OpEds that can reach a broader community, as my article on blood shortages has.

 I am very glad that the American Red Cross has now adopted a more inclusive blood donation policy, following the FDA recommendations.

 More blood centers are following the FDA revised guidelines with this article, appearing just a few days ago on the PBS News Hour, noting other blood centers following suit, including one in the Pacific Northwest. The donors, who can now give blood, are grateful and, I am sure, the recipients are as well.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Congratulations and Kudos - Virtual Center for Supernetworks in 2023

As the Founding Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, which was established at the Isenberg School in 2001 (shortly before 9/11), I find it important, as another year draws to a close, to reflect upon the achievements of the Center and its Associates during these challenging times.

2023 was a remarkable year, in which we celebrated 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, part of the UMass Amherst - Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) partnership. In the spring 2023, we had the honor and pleasure of helping to host the visit of the President of KSE, Dr. Tymofiy Mylovanov in February and the visit of the Rector of KSE, Dr. Tymofii Brik, in May, at which we also took part in a symposium featuring faculty hosts at UMass Amherst and the Virtual Scholars in Ukraine. Many thanks to the International Programs Office at UMass Amherst, including Vice Provost for Global Affairs Dr. Kalpen Trivedi, and to the Isenberg School and the Provost's Office for the outstanding support of this very important program that helps to reduce brain drain from Ukraine.

For the EJOR paper, "Multicommodity International Agricultural Trade Network Equilibrium: Competition for Limited Production and Transportation Capacity Under Disaster Scenarios with Implications for Food Security," Dana received the inaugural prize from my OIM department, for this A level publication with a monetary award of $750. In May, 2023, Center Associates Professors Deniz Besik and Pritha Dutta and I published the paper, "An Integrated Multitiered Supply Chain Network Model of Competing Agricultural Firms and Processing Firms: The Case of Fresh Produce and Quality," in EJOR.

And, with Professor Elena Besedina of KSE, we published a paper in Operations Research Forum. Much of our research with colleagues in Ukraine focuses on agricultural supply chains and impacts of Russia's war on them with the importance of alternative routes for exports quantified as well as the use of various policies for international trade enhancement.

We welcomed a new Center Associate, Dr. Gabriela Colajanni, with whom, and with Center Associates Professor Patrizia Daniele and Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney, we have been actively publishing on UAVs (drones).

Our research papers can be found on the Supernetwork Center website.

In addition, as part of the partnership, UMass Amherst welcomed 4 female undergraduate students from KSE! We hosted a special panel with them through the auspices of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and there is now even a video of an additional interview posted on the chapter's youtube channel. It has been an extraordinary experience interacting with these remarkable ambassadors for Ukraine as they enjoy their experiences at UMass Amherst very much. Our great Isenberg School Dean Anne P. Massey even hosted a lunch in their honor.

And, this past summer, I had the honor of co-organizing another Dynamics of Disasters (DOD) conference, which took place in Piraeus, Greece, and attracted conferees from many different countries. We are now in the process of editing the Proceedings volume. 

Speaking of books, I was thrilled that my Labor and Supply Chain Networks was published by Springer in 2023. It's wonderful to see al the libraries that now carry it.

Shortly after the DOD conference, and with a lovely meeting with Center Associate Professor Patrizia Daniele and her family in Madrid, I headed to the IFORS conference in Santiago, at which I delivered a keynote talk. It was wonderful to see colleagues from around the globe at this conference.

INFORMS in Phoenix served as a reunion for several of us, and it was wonderful to see Center Associates Professors Deniz Besik, Dmytro Matsypura, and Shivani Shukla there with Professor Zugang Liu also taking part. At this conference the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter was recognized with the Magna Cum Laude Award. I have had the honor of serving as the chapter's Faculty Advisor since 2004, whehn the chapter was established.

And big congratulations are in order to Center Associates Shivani Shukla and Dong "Michelle" Li, both of whom were recognized with promotion and tenure this year at their respective institutions of the University of San Francisco and Babson College.

Congratulations also to Center Associate Sara Saberi of  WPI, who was appointed the Norton Assistant Professor in 2023.

We continue to be very engaged with the media - some of our writings can be found here and interviews here.

For photos of various Center activities please see https://supernet.isenberg.umass.edu/cfoto/centerphotos.html

Thank you for the support. Let's work together to make 2024 a better year than 2023 with all the pain and suffering now on our planet.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

News Coverage on Our Latest Research

Real world events inform the research of my group at the Supernetwork Center at the Isenberg School of Management, that I founded in 2001 and continue to direct. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to model and solve a spectrum of supply chain network problems that have been affected by various disruptions, which now, sadly, for almost 2 years, have also included major disruptions to agricultural trade caused by Russia's full-scale war on Ukraine. Our research, documented in journal articles and book chapters, has continued to quantify the impacts of labor shortages and security issues and blockages associated with transportation, production capacity limitations, along with the repercussions of Russia pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. We have also investigated the impacts of numerous trade policies from tariffs to quotas and have been heavily focusing on agricultural and food supply chains and associated food insecurity.

Our research on agricultural supply chains and international trade has been enriched by our collaborations with scholars in Ukraine, through the unique, outstanding partnership between UMass Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) that I have blogged about.

It is very much appreciated when the research that we are involved in gets attention from the news media. 

UMass Amherst issued this release on the paper, "Ukraine – Addressing the domestic humanitarian crisis and the effects of the war on global food systems,"  that I was deeply honored to contribute to and which was presented by my KSE colleague, Professor Oleg Nivievskyi, at the Vatican in May at the Workshop on Food and Humanitarian Crises. The paper can be directly accessed here.

Also, the University World News published a very moving article by Nathan M. Greenfield: "Partnership with US scholars helps to keep Ukraine HE alive." 

In the article,  Greenfield notes our paper, "Multicommodity international agricultural trade network equilibrium: Competition for limited production and transportation capacity under disaster scenarios with implications for food security, "  just published in the European Journal of Operational Research and done with my Isenberg School PhD student Dana Hassani and KSE scholars: Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev. 

In addition, the article in University World News discusses the recent paper I wrote with KSE Professor Elena Besedina, "A multicommodity spatial price equilibrium model with exchange rates and non-tariff measures for agri-food international trade," which was published in Operations Research Forum.

Preprints of the above papers, as well as others of our research group can be found on the Supernetworks Center site.

Collaborations across continents during wartime help to reduce brain drain and also deepen the research insights. Very grateful for the collaborations with scholars in Ukraine, which continue. Giving enhanced visibility to scholars in Ukraine provides valuable professional and psychological support during very challenging times.

Many thanks  for the news coverage!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Writing a Professional Obituary is Hard, Writing One for a Friend, Very Hard

The past few years  have been  difficult ones, with many losing friends and loved ones.

As an academic, I have been very blessed to have colleagues around the globe that I consider to be friends, and some are close collaborators. Also, as an academic, I have been inspired by the work of top scholars, and have enjoyed interactions with them.

The bigger your network is, the more frequently you grieve those that pass away.

This year, in April, I lost a friend at the age of 42, Professor Urmila Pyakurel of Nepal. She had communicated with me only 3 days before dying. Urmila was an extraordinary researcher on networks, focusing on evacuation networks. She was also an educator and a mentor,  and a Full Professor of Mathematics. She was the youngest of 12 children and had to overcome immense challenges to reach the Professor level in academia.

                                       Professor Urmila Pyakurel

A way in academia that we can honor a scholar, who has passed away, is by writing a professional obituary.

I wrote an obituary of Urmila with Professor Tanka Nath Dhamala of Tribhuvan University, who was her "doctor father." The obituary has now been published in the journal Operations Research Forum in the December 2023 issue. A preprint is available here. 

Included in this professional obituary are remembrances by: Dr. Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General, Alexander von  Humboldt Foundation, Professor Stephan Dempe,TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Dr. Hari Nandan Nath,Tribhuvan University, which was Urmila's home institution,  Mr. Durga Prasad Khanal, also of Tribhuvan University, and Dr. Naba Raj Lamsal, Former Director of  Radio Nepal, and BBC correspondent. We also included my remembrance. I had met Urmila in 2019 at a Dynamics of Disasters conference in Kalamata, Greece that I had co-organized with Professors Panos M. Pardalos and Ilias S. Kotsireas. Her warmth and intellect I found inspiring.                        

  Some of the conferees at the 2019 Dynamic of Disasters conference in Greece (Professor Urmila is in the photo above with the red bag.)

The first professional obituary I ever wrote (and remember - many journalists are "trained" by writing obituaries), and this one was also very, very difficult to write, was for my PhD dissertation advisor at Brown University, Professor Stella Dafermos, who passed away at age 49. I was her first PhD student. The obituary was published in the journal Operations Research. Stella was one of the very few in Operations Research honored in this way upon passing. I also wrote an In Memoriam for Stella with MIT Professor Amedeo Odoni, which was published in Transportation Science.

Stella chaired my PhD dissertation committee and Professor Martin Beckmann, a renowned economist at Brown, was also on my committee. When he passed away at the age of 93, Professor David Boyce and I wrote the In Memoriam, which was published in Transportation Science. David Boyce and I also wrote an In Memoriam in Transportation Science for Beckmann's co-authors of the classical book, Studies in the Economics of Transportation, Bart McGuire and Chris Winsten. More information on this book can be found here.

In my Transportation and Logistics class that I teach I always share with students stories about Dafermos and Beckmann since their work lives on and has had a tremendous impact. Urmila's publications will also have a tremendous impact on evacuation networks in Nepal, which suffers from so many disasters, and beyond. I will always treasure the wonderful memories of Urmila's smile, her friendship and support. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Accomplishments of the Virtual Scholars in Ukraine Program 1 Year in - The Global Partnership Between UMass Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics

The one year anniversary of the Virtual Welcome for Scholars in Ukraine supported by the outstanding partnership between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) is approaching. That event, held on November 30, 2022, featuring scholars in Ukraine and their faculty hosts at the Isenberg School of Management, was laudable and incredibly moving, with the scholars having to take part in the event for a time at the KSE bomb shelter.

The Virtual Welcome event jump started the research and collaborations of the scholars in Ukraine with their faculty hosts at the Isenberg School. To-date, a total of 15 Virtual Scholars have been supported, with 9 of them (Elena Besedina, Nina Chala, Yuriy Dyachenko, Iuliia Kuntsevych, Myroslava Kushnir, Pavlo Martyshev, Viktor Maziarchuk, Maksym Obrizan, Pavlo Prokopovych) placed with Isenberg School faculty, and 5 others (Petro Chorniy, Nadiia Koval, Borys Kormych, Anton Liagusha, Hanna Zaremba-Kosovych) with faculty in Social and Behavioral Sciences and 1 (Georgiy Shevchenko)  in Math/Stats at UMass Amherst.

Thanks to all the faculty hosts at the Isenberg School: Professors Alicia Johnson of Marketing, Anya Mkrtchyan of Finance, Nora Junaid of OIM, Muzzo Uysal of HTM, Ina Ganguli of Management, and yours truly, also of OIM.

The program is helping to reduce the Brain Drain of researchers from Ukraine and, to-date, has led to a remarkable outgrowth of brainstorming sessions, journal publications as well as submissions, conference presentations, and even engagement of students in accompanying research projects. Importantly, it has also enriched the understanding of Ukraine and challenges in wartime for researchers and higher education. The Virtual Scholars represent not just KSE but also other universities including the Ukrainian Catholic University and the National University Odesa Law Academy.

UMass Amherst also hosted the visit of the President of KSE - Tymofiy Mylovanov on February 2, 2023 and that of the Rector - Tymofii Brik on May 3, 2023. Rector Brik took part that day in a Virtual Symposium that we had organized featuring the Virtual Scholars in Ukraine and their faculty hosts and also delivered an excellent seminar. 

Deep gratitude is extended to the UMass Amherst International Programs Office under its Director Kalpen Trivedi, who was instrumental in making this partnership a reality, with Ukraine and its higher educational institutions dealing with many challenges, since the full-scale invasion by Russia on February 24, 2022. Thanks also to Isenberg Dean Anne P. Massey for her extremely meaningful support of the partnership and of the Virtual Scholars. Thanks to the Isenberg School Virtual Scholar Selection Committee that included Associate Deans George Milne and Nikunj Kapadia and Bogdan Prokopovych and to all the Department Chairs who have been very helpful including the OIM Chair Senay Solak, the Marketing Chair Elizabeth Miller, the former Management Chair Bruce Skaggs, and the former HTM Chair (and faculty host) Muzzo Uysal.

And, this academic year, UMass Amherst, as part of the partnership, is hosting 4 exchange students from the Kyiv School of Economics. Recently, we held a welcome event to introduce them to the community.

Some of the research that we have been involved in with Scholars in Ukraine can be found on the Virtual Center for Supernetworks website. I am thrilled that even one of my Isenberg School PhD students, Dana Hassani, has been engaged in research with us. To-date, our collaborations, have yielded publications in such journals as: European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of Global Optimization, and Operations Research Forum as well as in the Proceedings of a Workshop hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The research continues as do the growing friendships across the miles.

Many OpEds and other publications in the media have also been written related to the research and partnership and interviews taken part in.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Thankful for the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine

Next week we are celebrating Thanksgiving and this post highlights my gratitude for the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) in Ukraine, its President - Tymofiy Mylovanov and its Rector - Tymofii Brik, along with its Management Team, faculty, and staff, as well as students.

Yesterday and today, starting at 6AM (and it is a Saturday), I took part in the KSE International Academic Board (IAB) meeting and in its Board of Directors (BOD) meeting.

I have had the honor of serving on both the KSE IAB and BOD for several years now, and, as my readers know, in March 2022, shortly after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, I was elected a Co-Chair of the BOD of KSE. The other Co-Chairs are: Olena Bilan, Oleksandr Kravchenko, and Makar Paseniuk. We meet every other Monday and, more often as various board meetings approach or as various crises materialize. I am also serving on several committees associated with KSE.

What KSE has done in wartime is truly extraordinary - opened up multiple new programs, hired new faculty and staff, built a bomb shelter at the university and its staff has engaged in major fundraising campaigns even for humanitarian and disaster relief in Ukraine. Faculty are committed to research, under very challenging circumstances in wartime, and I am extraordinarily grateful for the outstanding partnership established between UMass Amherst and KSE, which has allowed faculty at UMass Amherst to work with 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine. 9 of them are associated with faculty at the Isenberg School of Management. And now, we even have 4 exchange students from KSE studying at UMass Amherst and I have written about them. They are exceptional ambassadors for KSE and for Ukraine.

KSE had built an incredible community of scholars, policy makers, administrators, and students as well as alums and board members and supporters. Working with colleagues there, whether  in research or in support of its students, as well as with board members, who include superbly talented, dedicated, creative and impactful individuals from a former ambassador to a Nobel laureate, a rock star, a partner at a top consulting company, leaders of corporations, among others, is very meaningful and rewarding. 

Please support the Kyiv School of Economics - Thank you! Higher education in Ukraine and reducing its brain drain are essential to its recovery and reconstruction.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Higher Education in the US and Ukraine Panel - Meet the Exchange Students from the Kyiv School of Economics at UMass Amherst

Yesterday was a very special evening at UMass Amherst. The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter organized a special event, "Higher Education in the US and Ukraine Panel - Meet the Exchange Students from the Kyiv School of Economics."

The 4 exchange students from Ukraine, who are now studying at UMass Amherst, are taking courses in my Operations and Information Management (OIM) Department and in Economics, Resource Economics and Mathematics.

The exchange is part of an outstanding partnership between UMass Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), made possible through the International Programs Office at UMass Amherst and its Director, the Vice Provost for Global Affairs Kalpen Trivedi.

Below is a collage of photos from the panel, which took place at the Isenberg School of Management.

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Officers, under its President, Dana Hassani, did an excellent job of promoting the event and it was featured on the UMass Amherst webpage. They also secured the room for the panel and designed the nice poster below.

Assisting me with the moderation last evening was my great colleague from the Management Department, Bogdan Prokopovych.

In the presentation, background was provided about this unique partnership, which, in addition to the student exchange program, has helped to support 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, who have been matched with faculty hosts at UMass Amherst.

The full slidedeck can be viewed here. The slidedeck contains background on KSE and the partnership and also includes a video provided by KSE Rector Tymofii Brik to welcome the exchange students from Ukraine.

In the slidedeck are also posted questions that our panelists responded to yesterday prior to the Q&A with the audience.

It was a very warm and inspirational evening. The questions began with some "lighter" ones concerning their favorite foods at the award-winning UMass Amherst Dining Commons, to questions on teaching styles of professors at KSE versus UMass Amherst. Questions were also asked on what they will bring back from UMass to KSE. The answers from our panelists were interesting and very informative. I was especially touched by the exchange students' dedication to help in the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine and, hence, their desire to achieve the best education possible.

They delighted the audience with their expressions of joy at seeing a UMass hockey game and various sports; their enthusiasm at using our stunning Recreation Center; their enjoyment of the many student clubs at UMass Amherst, including our OIM Student Club!

Our exchange students from KSE appreciate the expansive size of our beautiful UMass Amherst campus, the lovely Amherst Town Center, the beauty of the surrounding nature and the peace.

In the slidedeck, administrators and faculty are thanked and also 3 special preceding events that we co-organized last year highlighted.

Thanks to all, who, in support of this partnership, have helped to reduce brain drain from Ukraine; have helped to forge new, impactful research collaborations across the miles in wartime, and these collaborations have led to sustained friendships, and are now educating and supporting students from Ukraine. I believe that we are learning even more from the students than they are from us.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Some Highlights of the 2023 INFORMS Conference in Phoenix

It is truly extraordinary that this year's INFORMS Annual Meeting attracted over 6,000 delegates to Phoenix. The conference took place October 15-28, 2023 and convened operations researchers and analytics professionals from academia, practice and government. All continents except for Antarctica were represented and the INFORMS President Laura Albert remarked that, next year, perhaps even someone from that continent will join us.

To me, INFORMS is about the people/members, and I especially delighted in seeing several of my former PhD students, who are now thriving as professors at various universities (Dmytro Matsypura at the University of Sydney in Australia, Deniz Besik at the University of Richmond, Shivani Shukla at the University of San Francisco and Sara Saberi at WPI) and having one of my PhD students (Dana Hassani) present at his first such conference the paper that we co-authored with Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) colleagues in Ukraine. It was published in the Journal of Global Optimization as the lead article in an issue and was on display at the Springer booth in the Exhibit Hall. We got to keep the stunning Journal of Global Optimization issue. It was also very special to see both my Labor and Supply Chain Networks book, published in 2023, and the Dynamics of Disasters book that I co-edited with Ilias S. Kotsireas, Panos M. Pardalos and Arsenios Tsokas on display at the Springer booth. Lovely to chat with Pardalos, his wife and son in Phoenix!

Seeing colleagues for the first time in person was also extra special since, in the pandemic, new connections were made virtually but only recently have the travel and the face to face exchanges become possible (and are so very welcome). The technical sessions and plenary and keynote talks were excellent and not all could be attended because quite a few took place "in parallel."

I thoroughly enjoyed various board meetings, including that of the INFORMS Magazine Editorial Advisory Board with Kara Tucker and committee members at 8AM on Sunday morning, as well as the Editorial Board meeting of the International Transactions in Operational Research (ITOR), led by its Editor, Celso C. Ribeiro. The Editorial Board meeting of the Journal of Global Optimization, whose Editor is Sergiy Butenko, was also very enjoyable and the food was excellent - thank you, Springer, the publisher!

It was an honor to present an invited paper and also to speak on two panels: one on optimization and community resilience and the other one - Meet the ITOR Editors! Thanks to Professor Nazanin Tajik of Mississippi State University for inviting me to speak in her session. I was so honored to even receive a gift and special note from her in appreciation. My presentation on defense critical supply chains and risk management can be viewed here. Our other presentations are posted also on the Supernetworks Center site. The resilience panel did not have panelists' slides but it was so good that it went way over and I missed the WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences) lunch! Thanks to Himadri Sen Gupta of the University of Oklahoma for organizing this panel and to his PhD advisor - Andres Gonzalez!

The business meetings were very well-attended and I especially enjoyed the Transportation Science & Logistics Society business meeting at which Hani S. Mahmassani received the Robert Herman Lifetime Achievement Award in Transportation Science.

The INFORMS Fellows luncheon at which the newly inducted Fellows were recognized was deeply engaging and pleasant. It was an honor to share a table with Roman Slowinski, who traveled with his wife from Poznan, Poland, and well as other colleagues, including Ben Lev and Candi Yano!

It was delightful to meet new colleagues and to reconnect with many others. I wish that I could list everyone that made this conference so memorable for me - you remain in my pleasant memories - thank you.

Congratulations to all who received awards! Extra proud that our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter was recognized with the INFORMS Magna Cum Laude Award.

Below is a collage constructed as a remembrance of some of the highlights. Many thanks to the organizers and to all those who took part.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Very Much Looking Forward to the 2023 INFORMS Conference in Phoenix!

The 2023 INFORMS Annual Meeting is on the horizon, and is taking place October 15-18 in Phoenix, Arizona. The program is filled with numerous sessions, keynote and plenary talks, business meetings, and many award and social networking events.

I look forward to seeing colleagues from around the globe and also quite a few of my former PhD students. Dmytro Matsypura, for example, will be traveling all the way from Sydney, Australia to take part in this conference! Shivani Shukla will be coming from San Francisco, Deniz Besik from Richmond, and Sara Saberi from Worcester. Zugang "Leo" Liu will be traveling from eastern Pennsylvania.

It is also very exciting that my present Isenberg School of Management PhD student, Dana Hassani, will be speaking at this INFORMS conference, which is his first. He will be presenting our paper, "Exchange Rates and Multicommodity International Trade: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Modeling with Policy Instruments via Variational Inequalities," which is co-authored with Kyiv School of Economics colleagues in Ukraine - Oleg Nivievskyi and Pavlo Martyshev. The paper was recently published in the Journal of Global Optimization

I will present the paper, "Defense Critical Supply Chain Networks and Risk Management with the Inclusion of Labor: Dynamics and Quantification of Performance and the Ranking of Nodes and Links," which is now in press in the  Handbook for Management of Threats: Security and Defense, Resilience and Optimal Strategies, Konstantinos Balomenos, Major Antonios Fytopoulos, and Panos Pardalos, Editors, Springer Nature, 2023.

Our talks are prepared and I am honored and delighted to be also speaking on two panels.

The above resilience panel is organized by Himadri Sen Gupta and the ITOR Editors panel by the EIC of ITOR (International Transactions in Operational Research) - Celso C. Ribeiro!

I will also be taking part in multiple Editorial Board meetings and in the meeting of the Magazine Editorial Advisory Board (MEAB) of INFORMS that I am now chairing, with the outstanding support of Kara Tucker of INFORMS and committee members.

I look forward to the INFORMS Fellows lunch and to congratulating the newly elected members.

It will also be wonderful to see the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter receive the Magna Cum Laude Award from INFORMS at this conference. Congratulations to all the student chapters who will be recognized for their activities at the conference!

Information on the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix can be found here. Seeing all the exhibits at the Convention Center will be great fun, I am sure, as well as meeting conferees at the various events and even in passing.

And, on Sunday, October 15, for a while, I will take part in an NSF Workshop on Mobility at Arizona State University with both David Boyce and Hani S. Mahmassani speaking. I have forwarded a tribute to David Boyce to the workshop organizers.

I have to also take this opportunity to congratulate Hani Mahmassani since he will be recognized at the Transportation Science & Logistics (TSL) Society business meeting in Phoenix with the Robert Herman Lifetime Achievement Award in Transportation Science! Robert Herman was his PhD advisor at UT Austin and this award is so well-deserved. Hani is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. 

It will be a very exciting time in Phoenix and we will manage, I hope, with the 100 degree temperature!

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Traffic Paradoxes Continue to Fascinate

I have been reading the paper, "Bibliometric analysis and systematic literature review of the traffic paradoxes (1968–2022),"  co-authored by Jia Yao, Ziyi Cheng, and Anthony Chen, published recently in the journal Transportation Research B, 177 (2023) 102832.  It contains a very thorough, exhaustive compendium and analysis of a plethora of traffic paradoxes, beginning with the classical Braess Paradox (1968) paper. I had the honor of translating the 1968 paper from German to English, along with Dietrich Braess and my then PhD student Tina Wakolbinger. The translation, "On a paradox of traffic planning was published in Transportation Science in 2005, along with a preface that I wrote with David Boyce.

Below is a photo taken with Professor Dietrich Braess and Tina Wakolbinger, when we hosted him at the Isenberg School of Management after our translation was published in 2006.

2005-2006 was a very busy year for me since I was then a Science Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

The Braess Paradox has inspired many researchers from different disciplines and, over the years, I have written several papers on this paradox and others, which I have co-authored with both PhD students and other collaborators. 

In the study by Yao, Cheng, and Chen, I was thrilled and humbled to see that I am the "top leading author with a minimum of five publications" on traffic paradoxes and that I am in some amazing scholarly company.

I have had the pleasure of working on paradoxes and the authors of this Transportation Research B bibliometric study have listed the top 50 cited papers, which include not only the translation paper of ours but also my work with my PhD advisor (now deceased) Stella Dafermos, Ding Zhang, and Qiang "Patrick" Qiang.

Below is a list of the 50 most cited papers that the authors compiled.

I'd like to commend Yao, Cheng, and Chen on their paper, which is an incredibly valuable resource, which, I am sure, will generate much additional research.

Below is a list of some of the papers that I have referred to either explicitly or implicitly in this post.


Braess, D., 1968. Über ein paradoxon aus der verkehrsplanung. Unternehmensforschung 12 (1), 258–268.

Braess, D., Nagurney, A., Wakolbinger, T., 2005. On a paradox of traffic planning. Transportation Science 39 (4), 446–450.

Dafermos, S., Nagurney, A., 1984a. On some traffic equilibrium theory paradoxes. Transportation Research  B 18 (2), 101–110.

Dafermos, S., Nagurney, A., 1984b. Sensitivity analysis for the asymmetric network equilibrium problem. Mathematical Programming 28 (2), 174–184.

Nagurney, A., 2000. Congested urban transportation networks and emission paradoxes. Transportation Research D 5 (2), 145–151.

Nagurney, A., 2010. The negation of the Braess paradox as demand increases: the wisdom of crowds in transportation networks. EPL (Europhysics Letters) 91 (4), 48002.

Nagurney, A., Qiang, Q., 2007a. A network efficiency measure for congested networks. EPL 79 (3), 38005.

Nagurney, A., Qiang, Q., 2007b. Robustness of transportation networks subject to degradable links. EPL  (Europhysics Letters) 80 (6), 68001.

Nagurney, A., Qiang, Q., 2008a. An efficiency measure for dynamic networks modeled as evolutionary variational inequalities with application to the internet and vulnerability analysis. Netnomics 9 (1), 1–20.

Nagurney, A., Qiang, Q., 2008b. A network efficiency measure with application to critical infrastructure networks. Journal of  Global Optimization 40 (1–3), 261–275.

Nagurney, A., Zhang, D., 1997. Projected dynamical systems in the formulation, stability analysis, and computation of fixed-demand traffic network equilibria. Transportation Science 31, 147–158.

Nagurney, L.S., Nagurney, A., 2016. Physical proof of the occurrence of the Braess paradox in electrical circuits. EPL (Europhysics Letters) 115, 28004.

And, in 2007, a paper that I co-authored with Patrizia Daniele, who was supported by Radcliffe as my collaborator, and with David Parkes (now Dean of SEAS at Harvard) was published! Full citation:

Nagurney, A.,  Parkes, D.C.,  Daniele, P. 2007. The Internet, evolutionary variational inequalities, and the time-dependent Braess paradox. Computational Management Science 4(4): 355-375.

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.