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!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

My Letter to the Editor on the Great UMass Amherst - Kyiv School of Economics Partnership is Published!

I do believe that it is very important to share news with the public, especially if it concerns very timely initiatives and higher education and the partnership between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) in Ukraine is an outstanding example!

Below is the Letter to the Editor that I wrote that was published in The Republican, the major newspaper in western Massachusetts.

The letter, which was accepted for publication by the Executive Editor, Larry Parnass, in a very warm message to me, recognizes the importance of the 1 year partnership, which was established shortly after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022. 

Some background information on the partnership can be found in this UMass Amherst press release.

The partnership is now helping to support 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, who are working with faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I have the honor of serving as the faculty host of 4 scholars. This partnership is reducing brain drain from Ukraine and is enhancing research of all those involved. New research topics have also been identified and papers already published.

We hosted 3 events this academic year. The first was on November 30, 2022, at which we welcomed the 8 scholars working with the Isenberg School faculty. An additional scholar has since joined. You may read the nice article that the Isenberg School has posted on this event. The courage of our colleagues in Ukraine is awe-inspiring as is their dedication to continuing to teach and to conduct research.

On February 22, 2023, the President of KSE, Tymofiy Mylovanov, visited UMass Amherst and met with faculty hosts as well as university leaders during a very dynamic, engaging, and moving visit to our campus.

And, on May 3, 2023, we hosted the Rector of KSE, Tymofii Brik, at UMass Amherst, and I expounded on his visit in my Letter to the Editor! We began the day with a symposium and, in the afternoon, Rector Brik spoke on the Resilience of Ukrainian Universities and Communities!

Below I include collages that we constructed to highlight the special visit in photos. 

I am very grateful to the Vice Provost for Global Affairs Kalpen Trivedi and to his team at the International Programs Office at UMass Amherst for the extraordinary support provided to make this unique partnership in wartime so special and synergistic. 

Monday, May 8, 2023

Do You Remember Your First Journal Article Acceptance? Celebrating Several "Firsts!"

Last Wednesday, we had the great honor of hosting the Rector of the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) Dr. Tymofii Brik at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The day began with a 2 hour symposium, under the auspices of the International Programs Office, which is directed by the Vice Provost for Global Affairs Dr. Trivedi Kalpen. The visit of Rector Brik and the day's events were to mark the outstanding 1 year partnership between UMass Amherst and KSE. Below is a photo taken after the symposium with 13 scholars from Ukraine zooming in and with (l-r) Professors Uzzo Muysal, Lauren McCarthy, Rector Brik, yours truly, Ina Ganguli, Alicia Johnson, Vice Provost Trivedi, and Professor Bogdan Prokopovych in front with the Ukrainian flag. The symposium consisted of introductory remarks by university leaders, as well as by Rector Brik, and had a total of 4 panels. Faculty hosts of scholars through our partnership participated and we took a joint photo featured below.

And, shortly before the very busy, inspiring day began, we received a message from Springer Nature with great news that the paper, "Exchange Rates and Multicommodity International Trade: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Modeling with Policy Instruments via Variational Inequalities," co-authored by Dr. Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev of KSE and by my Isenberg School of Management PhD student Dana Hassani and me, had been accepted for publication in the Journal of Global Optimization!

This is the first paper acceptance for my PhD student Dana Hassani and the first paper that we have co-authored with scholars in Ukraine that we have been working with through our partnership!

Both Dr. Nivievskyi and Dr. Martyshev spoke at our symposium on the first panel, "Agricultural Supply Chains in Ukraine in Wartime," which I moderated.

We acknowledge the anonymous reviewers of our paper and the Editor for the constructive comments and suggestions on the Acknowledgment section of our paper. We also acknowledge the support provided by the UMass Amherst - KSE partnership, which has been a bright beacon of light in wartime and has helped to reduce brain drain from Ukraine.