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.