Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Suitcase Packing Optimization - 3 Weeks in Europe in 5 Countries and 1 Carry On Suitcase

I recently returned from 3 weeks in Europe and managed with just 1 carry on suitcase, despite beginning the trip with a conference in hot Halkidiki, Greece and ending the travel with a conference in cool and rainy Copenhagen.

After United lost my suitcase (never found) after a 2 week business trip to Japan, I will (almost) never check in a suitcase. Below is a photo of my carry on.

I heard from several conferees at the EURO Conference in Copenhagen that their luggage had not arrived, including the suitcase of a child of a conferee.

The 3 weeks in Europe entailed, besides the two conferences that I had blogged about and included photos of; see  https://annanagurney.blogspot.com/2024/06/the-outstanding-pardalos-70-conference.html for info on the Halkidiki conference in honor of Panos M. Pardalos and here: https://annanagurney.blogspot.com/2024/07/complex-societal-problems-and.html for highlights of the EURO conference in Copenhagen.

In the 3 weeks of travel, not only were there multiple flights (and in southern Europe one usually gets bussed to the plane and then has to march up a flight of stairs to board the plane and then back down again after landing), but also multiple train trips plus some travel on busses.

Along with my spouse, who was marvelous at helping me to haul my carry on up and down flights of stairs, we traveled from Halkidiki to Thessaloniki, onwards to Vienna, where I met with my former PhD student Tina Wakolbinger (whom I also saw in Copenhagen), and then off to Brno in Czechia, where we visited the university where my father had studied electrical engineering.  Also, in Brno, I had a virtual Co-Chairs Board of Directors of the Kyiv School of Economics meeting. It was interesting to hold it in a hotel room, but everything worked out splendidly and it was exciting to reconnect and also meet with KSE President Tymofii Mylovanov and on European time! Then we were off to Prague (it was our first time in Czechia) and, subsequently, we flew to Gothenburg, Sweden where I visited the University of Gothenburg, where I had a multiyear appointment. We took the train from there through Malmo to Copenhagen, a lovely trip, during which I wrote an invited essay.

OK, so what did I pack - this took a lot of thought but optimization is in my DNA and I used each and every item. I packed a navy pant suit, a navy skirt suit, a warmer navy sweater, 3 poplin long-sleeved shirts (white, black, and blue), two polo shirts (I wore one on the plane, along with khaki pants and a navy sporty blazer with an emblem), two long sleeved elegant dresses, and 3 short sleeved ones, two pairs of Bermuda shorts, 1 colorful sweater vest, 2 colorful skirts, socks, stockings, 3 pairs of shoes (1 dressy plus the ones I wore on the flight over) and the usual undergarments and pjs.

Below are a few photos as proof that what I packed was put to good use!







It was great that both in Halkidiki and in Gothenburg we could avail ourselves of a laundry service!

My Panama hat that I had bought in Greece several years ago wore out, but I managed to replace it with a similar one in Vienna.

I also had my made in Ukraine blue and yellow scarf and purchased another scarf in Gothenburg. These were quite useful in chilly Copenhagen.

Thanks to all who made our conferencing and travel in Europe such a pleasure both professionally as well as culturally and socially.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Complex Societal Problems and the Serendipity of Conferences

This week I am taking part in the EURO 2024 Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and, yesterday, I chaired the invited session: Complex Societal Problems, and also delivered a presentation on our latest research with my Isenberg School PhD student Dana Hassani and two Kyiv School of Economics colleagues: Oleg Nivievskyi and Pavlo Martyshev.

The session was excellent and papers were presented on refugee resettlement, impacts of climate change of refugee flows, healthcare entrepreneurship in rural areas of Kenya, and our work on international trade network performance under various disruptions with examples drawn from Russia's war on Ukraine.

Full information on our session can be found here.

The audience was terrific, asking many questions, and this also demonstrates the interest in the topics and the research that was presented. I am grateful to Tina Wakolbinger, a member of the conference program committee (and a former PhD student of mine) for the invitation to chair this invited session, which was part of the Humanitarian Operations track. I am very thankful to all the speakers. It was exciting to see Kash Barker, whose work with Andres Gonzales and Buket Ci, was presented by Andres.

This conference is taking place at the Danish Technical University (DTU). For many of us, who are staying in hotels in central Copenhagen,  getting there requires a commute via train and bus. The DTU campus is big and sessions are spread out across multiple buildings, which can require a trek. Lunches, coffee breaks, and snacks are provided, and there are nice exhibits. I especially enjoyed the Springer exhibit where my latest book is on display!

It is the serendipity associated with conferences that I especially love and seeing various conferees from around the globe while one is in transit, or having coffee, etc. It was such a delight to meet, on the first full day of the conference my former Isenberg School PhD students: Tina Wakolbinger, Sara Saberi, and Deniz Besik, all of whom are successful professors and Pritha Dutta arrived yesterday and came to our session. I have had the opportunity to enjoy the EJOR (European Journal of Operational Research) Editorial Board meeting, led by Roman Slowinski, with lunch provided, and to attend various sessions, including on food supply chains. Deniz Besik presented some of our latest work on  the impacts of supply chain disruptions on food quality. Semih Boz, one of our Isenberg School PhD students,  also met with us, which was great and presented a paper.

It has been lovely to encounter Anand Subramanian, Christina Phillips, Grazia Speranza, who I heartily congratulated on her receipt of the EURO Gold Medal (only the second female so honored), as well as many of the Associate Editors at the EJOR meeting, including Paolo Toth and Immanuel Bomze.

Also, what a small world. My three weeks in Europe began with the Pardalos conference in Halkidiki, Greece, and there I met two Ukrainians from Kharkiv, Tetyana and Petro, who are also at the EURO conference, which is very special. 

And we have made new friends from Athens, who are at this conference, and have been enjoying breakfasts with them.

I could not capture photographs with all the wonderful conferees - lots of discussions and chatting and hugs taking place. Super to see collaborators from Italy (but not all) including Laura Scrimali and Gabriella Colajanni plus even Annamaria Barbagallo. Coincidentally, the next conference that I will be speaking at will be the VINEPA conference in Catania, Italy in mid July. I even saw the immediate past President of INFORMS Laura Albert, but only for a brief time. I hope to meet many other conferees today.

And for my post on tips for networking, based on the panel I was on this past Sunday, click here. This panel was part of the WISDOM organized events and kicked off the conference for me in a marvelous warm way (unlike the weather).

Monday, July 1, 2024

Some Tips on Networking - Terrific EURO WISDOM Panel in Copenhagen

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking on a Networking panel at the start of the EURO 2024 Conference in Copenhagen. The panel was organized by Paula Carroll and Annunziata Esposito Amideo. Joining me on the panel was life coach Margaret Collins. The panel attracted an excellent audience, very enthusiastic and energetic.

The WISDOM Forum aims "to provide a platform to support, empower and encourage the participation of all genders in Operational Research within EURO." It is very active in organizing events, engaging in social media and has various terrific initiatives; more info on its website. Other related such forums include the WORMS forum of the professional society of INFORMS.

What we emphasized on the panel included the following:

1. The importance of networking.

2. Strategies for developing networks of visibility.

3. Communication skills to deliver your message.

4. How to deal with nerves or anxiety.

As an academic, who also has worked in high tech consulting in the defense sector, I noted the importance of being engaged with practice and the serendipity of meeting people and expanding your network, whether at conferences (a fabulous venue for networking) or even during travel, such as on planes. I spoke about reaching out to researchers that I admired, early on, in order to gather their wisdom and professional advice. I shared that George Dantzig, one of the founders of the field of OR, came to the first conference presentation that I ever gave, which was at the Mathematical Programming Symposium at MIT, and the kind words that he shared. I also acknowledged my PhD dissertation advisor, the late Stella Dafermos, in my presentation. I was her first PhD student. I showed the audience my academic genealogy, which includes Maxwell, Newton, and Galileo!

On our panel, the importance of social media was emphasized, which can create opportunities and invitations, and in keeping your profile up to date. In addition. Margaret, through her nicely interactive presentation, told the audience to have prepared a short introduction of yourself (perhaps several). One should also think about whom you might network with. Different people have distinct comfort zones, and it is important to acknowledge that some may be introverts or extroverts, or somewhere in between.

I focused on networking as your career progresses.


My presentation can be downloaded here. Early in one's career, one networks laterally and up, and it is important as one's career progresses to mentor and support others. Taking risks is also important since new experiences can help one to grow both personally and professionally. I also spoke about networking with journalists and decision-makers in order to have one's research make a greater impact. I emphasized the relevance of writing Letters to the Editor and OpEds to broaden one's reach.

Ultimately, networking is about people, and professional societies are playing a big role in bringing us together, through conferences, newsletters, opportunities for leadership, and various means of support and enhanced visibility.

Many thanks to the organizers of the EURO 2024 conference for the lovely city location venue of Copenhagen. More info on the conference here.


Also, early in my presentation, I congratulated both Paula and Annunziata on the publication of their discussion paper (the inaugural one): "Gender equality: opportunities and challenges for the OR community,"  in the Journal of the Operational Research Society. Their paper is now trending, along with the set of invited commentaries, which I contributed one to. These publications are open access and are very informative and relevant.   Relationships matter and networks do as well.


Friday, June 28, 2024

The Great UMass Amherst - Kyiv School of Economics Partnership Continues with the Second Cohort of Virtual Scholars in Ukraine

Russia's war on Ukraine has caused immense damage to education, including higher education, with the destruction of universities, and disruption to scholarship and learning. UMass Amherst stepped up, in the month after the full-scale invasion of February 24, 2022, through the establishment of memoranda of understanding with the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine. I have been affiliated with this university for over half a decade, and have served both on its International Academic Board and its Board of Directors. In March 2022, I was elected a Co-Chair of its Board of Directors.


As part of this global partnership, 15 Virtual Scholars, all based in Ukraine were partnered with faculty hosts at UMass Amherst. 9 of these were with faculty at the Isenberg School of Management. I had the great pleasure of working with Elena Besedina and Pavlo Martyshev of the Kyiv School of Economics and with Myroslava Kushnir of the Ukrainian Catholic University.

And, I am delighted that the second cohort of Virtual Scholars, numbering 10, has now been selected. The process was very competitive and I wish that we could fund more. All of these faculty, which hail from 5 different universities in Ukraine, have been matched with faculty at the Isenberg School of Management. More information on the call for applications can be found on the Kyiv School of Economics website.

The 10 selected scholars are faculty at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the Ukrainian Catholic University, the Kyiv School of Economics, Polissia National University, and the Odesa Law Academy. Their faculty hosts are in the Operations and Information Management Department (yours truly), the Finance Department (Wenting Ma), the Isenberg Management Department (Ina Ganguli, Giuseppe (Joe) Labianca, Bogdan Prokopovych πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦, and Orlando Richard), and the Accounting Department (Orhan Akisik). The projects are fascinating and include such themes as: human resource management in Ukrainian companies during wartime, Ukrainian scientist research productivity, mobility, and collaborations in wartime, agricultural trade flows between Ukraine and Africa, post-war reconstruction of Ukrainian agriculture and entrepreneurship, and civilian-military defense supply chains. Deepest gratitude to KSE Rector Tymofii Brik, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Provost's Office, the UMass Amherst International Programs Office and Vice Provost for Global Affairs Kalpen Trivedi and Manager of Global Partnerships Eric Wirth, and Dean Anne P. Massey for the great support of this important initiative and partnership. Highlights of some of our activities can be found here with more planned for the next academic year, including another symposium.

I am thrilled that we have even published several articles and that one of my PhD students, Dana Hassani, has been collaborating with Oleg Nivievskyi and Pavlo Martyshev of KSE. Some of our papers and others that may be of interest can be found on the Supernetwork Center site.

This partnership is truly special - it helps in reducing brain drain from Ukraine and provides not only financial support but mentorship. It also is resulting in meaningful research and its dissemination plus friendships.

I am so proud of UMass Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics for leading the way during these very challenging times.


Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Outstanding Pardalos 70 Conference in Greece

It has been only a few days since the outstanding Pardalos 70 conference in Halkidiki, Greece and the aura continues.

Conferees gathered from 5 continents to celebrate Professor Panos M. Pardalos on his 70th birthday. The talks were excellent (clearly, everyone worked very hard to present their best work) with many including photos and comments on what Pardalos has meant to them as scholars and as a mentor and even a friend.

Panos has supervised the dissertations of over 60 PhD students and has received numerous well-deserved honors and recognitions, including election as INFORMS Fellow and the EURO Gold Medal plus the Constantin Caratheodory Prize. His impact on global optimization, operations research, and numerous applications is profound. The organizers of this conference: Sergiy Butenko, Athanasios (Sakis) Migdalas, and Oleg Prokopyev did an incredible job in site selection, banquet and activity organization, and overall theme selection plus logistics. 

Thanks also to the Program Committee: Vladimir Boginskii, Altannar Chinchuluun, Dalila Martins Fontes, Faruque Hasan, Pavlo Krokhmal, Foad Mahdavi Pajouh, Dmytro Matsypura, Leonidas Pitsoulis, Themistocles Rassias, Mauricio G. C. Resende, and Petros Xanthopoulos for putting together such a fascinating set of single track sessions on the conference theme of "Optimization, Analytics, and Decisions in the Big Data Era." I very much enjoyed also serving on the Program Committee.  The presentations were on topics ranging from sports analytics (quite relevant with the EURO Cup now) to machine learning, complex networks, various aspects of game theory, energy and supply chain applications, and so much more! It was heartwarming to hear in many of the talks how the presenters met Professor Panos Pardalos and his impact on their lives. 

A theme that permeated the conference is that of wonderful friendships, great collaborations, and experiences. Special thanks to Mauricio G. C. Resende for kicking off the conference with his talk on his 30+ years of collaboration with Professor Pardalos. I have been proud to collaborate with Panos for over three decades and we have a new edited Dynamics of Disasters volume going to press shortly with Co-Editors also Ilias Kotsireas, Stefan Pickl, and Chrysafis Vogiatzis. Warm acknowledgments to Professor Stefan Pickl for the presentation of lovely gifts to Panos at the banquet. A very moving part of this conference was seeing a proclamation from the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences in honor of Panos in the presentation given by Tetyana Romanova on work with Petro Stetsyuk and Andreas Fischer.

Below is a collage of photos from the conference.

More information on the conference: https://sites.google.com/view/panos-70/home

And it was quite remarkable to have so many Ukrainians in attendance and as speakers. Although Ukraine lost its first Euro Cup match, it did win its second one against Slovakia and Sergiy Butenko was at the match in Germany with his family.

Below is a photo of the Ukrainians at the Pardalos conference.

Wishing Professor Panos M. Pardalos wonderful experiences on his new journeys!

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Thanks to All Those Who Organize Conferences

This is going to be a very busy but exciting summer with many conferences to present at.

It takes a lot of time and effort to organize a successful conference from the venue selection to the invitation of keynote and other speakers, the organization of exciting sessions, and, of course, the various social and networking events and even panels. 

Conferences allow for the formal exchange of the latest research and also for many encounters, often occurring with serendipity. Friendships can even be made and wonderful memories established. It is great that, after a multiyear hiatus due to COVID-19, conferences are now taking place in person and with great enthusiasm!

Conferences can be huge or smaller and more focused and all play important roles.

In the next month alone, I will be giving talks at conferences in Greece (at the conference in honor of Pardalos with many friends in attendance), Denmark (at the Euro Conference, at which I will see quite a few of my former PhD students, who are now successful professors), and Italy (at the VINEPA Conference).

Thankful to be an invited speaker at the VINEPA (Variational Inequalities, Nash Equilibrium Problems and Applications) Conference in Catania, Italy. This conference will focus on some of my favorite methodological tools. 

Many thanks to the organizers of this conference. I have published journal articles with all the organizers, except for one!

Talks that I will present at the first 3 conferences have now been prepared. Deniz Besik of the University of Richmond will deliver a paper on our latest work at the Euro Conference in Copenhagen and is finalizing that presentation. I am thankful to my excellent collaborators, including colleagues at the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) in Ukraine as well as my Isenberg School of Management PhD students.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Civilian-Military Integration of Ukrainian Defense Supply Chain - A Paper by Three Females

The ISCRAM conference, which took place recently in Munster, Germany, is now over. The conference focused on information systems for crisis response and management and attracted speakers from many countries.

I was thrilled that Professor Myroslava Kushnir of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv, Ukraine was able to present our paper, "Civilian-Military Integration of Ukrainian Defense Supply Chain" at the recent ISCRAM conference that took place in Munster, Germany.  The paper was also co-authored by Professor Renata Konrad of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). For all three of us, Ukrainian is our first language.

The paper was published in the refereed conference Proceedings and is open access. It can be downloaded here.


I started working with Myroslava, through the outstanding UMass Amherst - Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) partnership, in which the 1st round of Virtual Scholars had 15 scholars in Ukraine matched up with faculty hosts at UMass Amherst. 9 of the 15 were matched with faculty at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. I had the pleasure of working with Myroslava and also with Elena Besedina of KSE and Pavlo Martyshev of KSE as well as Oleg Nivievskyi of KSE. I published papers with all of them.

Nathan Greenfield wrote this wonderful article in World University News about the meaning of this partnership and you can see therein quotes from Kushnir, Besedina, and Martyshev.

Myroslava told me that she was the only Ukrainian that presented at the ISCRAM Conference.

Our research continues and we expect to have an announcement of the 2nd round of Virtual Scholars before too long.

Working with faculty and researchers in Ukraine has been incredibly humbling and inspirational.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Three of My Former Isenberg PhD Students (All Females) Received Promotion and Tenure This Past Year

This has been a remarkable year in that, since last spring, three of my former Isenberg School of Management PhD students: Shivani Shukla, Dong "Michelle" Li, and Sara Saberi, all received promotions to Associate Professor with tenure at their home institutions, which are, respectively: the University of San Francisco (USF), Babson College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Both Babson and WPI are in the state of Massachusetts.


Shivani is now the Program Director of the Business Analytics Major and Minor at the School of Management at the University of San Francisco. Michelle is a faculty member at Babson's Academic Division: Mathematics, Analytics, Science, and Technology. Sara is a faculty member at the School of Business at WPI and a year ago was named the Norton Assistant Professor. Shivani was notified in April 2023 and USF issued a press release on all the promotion and tenure awards. Michelle was notified of the good news last December, when her colleagues surprised her with a party. Sara heard in February her good news. WPI issued a press release on the promotions and tenure.

They are my 18th, 19th, and 20th PhD students and I have chaired the dissertation committees of three other PhD students. More information on their dissertations can be found on the Supernetwork Center site.

Congratulations to these outstanding Isenberg School PhD alumnae, who continue a great legacy of  research and education. 

Below is my and their academic genealogy, which includes Maxwell, Newton, and Galileo, by way of my PhD advisor at Brown University Stella Dafermos. We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants.



Tuesday, May 21, 2024

My Isenberg School of Management PhD Student Dana Hassani Receives the Outstanding Doctoral Student Research Award

As the 2023-2024 academic year was growing to a close, there were many celebratory events including my department's award ceremony that  I had blogged about.

And, at the final All School Meeting of the Isenberg School on May 9, 2024, there were faculty and PhD students recognized for research and teaching as well as staff for their accomplishments.

I was thrilled to hear that my Isenberg School PhD student, Dana Hassani, who has completed almost two and a half years in our doctoral program in Operations Management, was the sole recipient of the 2024 Isenberg School Outstanding Doctoral Research Award! I had nominated Dana for this award.

Below is a collage of photos taken after the announcement and prior to the Senior Barbecue that followed.

Dana has already had two journal articles published, one in the European Journal of Operational Research, and the other one in the Journal of Global Optimization.


Both of these papers, Dana co-authored with me and with colleagues at the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) in Ukraine, Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev. Preprints of these and other papers of ours can be found on the Supernetwork Center website: https://supernet.isenberg.umass.edu/dart.html These papers are reflective of a wonderful collaboration began through the UMass Amherst - KSE partnership, which was established after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022. Pavlo was one of 15 Virtual Scholars in our first round and was placed with me as a Faculty Host.

In addition, we, recently, heard that another joint paper of ours, "Quantification of International Trade Network Performance Under Disruptions to Supply, Transportation, and Demand Capacity, and Exchange Rates in Disasters," has been accepted for publication in: Dynamics of Disasters- From Natural Phenomena to Human Activity, I.S. Kotsireas, A. Nagurney, P.M. Pardalos, S. Pickl, C. Vogiatzis, Editors, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

The achievement of Dana's receipt of this award is quite impressive since there are 7 departments in the Isenberg School of Management.

The research on international agricultural trade network equilibrium problems continues, with various policy interventions, analysis of disruptions due to the war, as well as impacts on food security. 

Our KSE colleagues inspire us as do all Ukrainians fighting for their freedom and that of democracies globally.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Congratulations to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and to its Officers!

The end of the academic year is filled with all sorts of celebratory events as well as award ceremonies. 

The academic life is intense but extremely rewarding.

I have served as the Faculty Advisor of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter since its founding in 2004 and next Fall we hope to mark its big 20th Anniversary! This Chapter is an outstanding collaboration between the Isenberg School of Management and the College of Engineering.

This past Thursday evening, after the classes were over with at UMass Amherst, we hosted the end of the semester party at the Isenberg School of Management.


The students did a great job, under the leadership of this year's Chapter President, my PhD student, Dana Hassani, in organizing the event, which included ordering food from award-winning UMass Dining and Catering.

Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney and I brought several types of varenyky / pierogies (warm and buttered) and Polish sausages plus delicious Italian and Polish cookies.

Attendance of faculty and students was outstanding at this party, which demonstrates the warm and inclusive community that we have built at UMass Amherst of operations researchers!

At this party, we recognized both this year's and last year's incredible Chapter Officers with Outstanding Award Certificates that were framed. The Chapter has accomplished so much in terms of hosting speakers, leaders, and even panels plus their role in building community through social events, such as this party, are so very much appreciated.

Congratulations to the Chapter Officers, who received their Outstanding Service Awards and were able to attend: Dana Hassani, Ogechi Vivian Nwadiaru, Samirasadat Samadi, Paola Furlanetto, Sindhoora Prakash, Yukti Kathuria, G. Busra Karkili, and Ismael Pour. Yiwen Wang, Josh Gladstone, and Semih Boz were also recognized for their great service to this INFORMS Student Chapter. 

Service as a Chapter Officer builds many skills, including leadership. And, for those students (many of the members are PhD students) who enter academia after receiving their doctorates, service activities are important, along with excelling at research and teaching. Universities run on those three "pillars."

Thanks to all the faculty: Professors Arzum Akkas, Bogdan Prokopovych, Ahmed Ghoniem, Agha Iqbal Ali, Erin Baker, Hari Balasubramanian, and Chaitra Gopalappa that were able to join us for the party. Thanks also to Professors Senay Solak, Peter Haas, and Ana Muriel for their terrific engagement with our students and chapter activities!  It was extra special that two of the exchange students from the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) in Ukraine: Asta Motrenko and Marharyta Nechytailo came and enjoyed the varenyky and the warm conversations very much. You can read here about a panel that they spoke at which was organized by this Chapter with support also provided by the International Programs Office.

I am very grateful to Dean Anne P. Massey and to Vice Provost Kalpen Trivedi for their superb support of our students.

On the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter website you can find information about the chapter as well as news items and many photos.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Lovely Operations & Information Management Awards Celebration 2024

On May 2, 2024, in the Inn at Boltwood in downtown Amherst, my department held an Awards Celebration to recognize student achievements.

It was a lovely evening with delicious food, great company, and ceremony recognizing each student awardee. The full list from the program is below.


The two students that I had nominated, Khang Banh, who is from Vietnam, and is an undergraduate graduating this month, and Dana Hassani, who is my PhD student, concentrating in Operations Management,  received the OIM Exceptional Impact Scholarship. Khang Banh, in addition, is one of only ten recipients of the Outstanding Student Employee Award this year from UMass Amherst! Dana is the President of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and has already published two journal articles, co-authored with me and colleagues in Ukraine at the Kyiv School of Economics, Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev.


It was delightful to meet family members, who came, as well as friends of the students.

The Chair of the OIM Department, Professor Senay Solak, and Dr. Michele Burch, the Co-Chair of the OIM Department, did a superb job reading bios of the students and assisting with giving out the awards.

Many thanks to my OIM colleague, Dr. Oscar Lopez, for taking the below group photos. Along with Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney, I had to leave a bit early for another event. It is a very busy time of the academic year with many celebrations taking place.



Special thanks to Dr. Shirley Shmerling and Susan Boyer and Dr. Ying Liu for the great work on selecting the awardees and on organizing the event with a special shoutout to our outstanding Office Manager Samantha Whittle for designing and producing the elegant program, the name cards, and making sure that the event was so memorable!

And, most importantly, congratulations to all the student awardees! Your work ethic and creativity and dedication and academic success inspire us. The awardees hail from multiple countries and one even from the town of Amherst.

Terrific Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) 2024 Conference in Minneapolis

I'd like to thank the organizers of the 2024 POMS Conference, which took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 25-29. Full information on the program and associated activities can be found on the conference website: https://pomsmeetings.org/conf-2024/

Both my Isenberg School of Management PhD student, Dana Hassani, and I presented at this conference and Dana also took part on the Doctoral Colloquium as did another Operations Management Isenberg School PhD student, Busra Karkili. Dana shared with me the lovely group photo below taken at the colloquium.

Coincidentally, on our flight from Bradley Airport to Minneapolis, were both Busra and her PhD Advisor, Senay Solak, who is also chair of our OIM Department.

I presented my latest work on food security, international trade, and nutritional subsidies by governments, whereas Dana presented one of our papers on the quantification of international trade network performance under disruptions to supply, transportation, and demand capacity, and exchange rates in disasters, done with colleagues, Oleg Nivievskyi and Pavel Martyshev at the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine. The below collage was prepared as a memento from this great POMS conference.


My presentation was based on a paper that was recently published in the International Transactions in Operational Research and was recognized with an Editor's Choice Award.  Special thanks to Telesilla Kotsi for organizing a very interesting session and inviting me to speak

It was extra special, because of the serendipity at conferences, to see Tinglong Dai and Suresh Sethi plus Kathy Stecke and even Zihao Qu, who will be joining our Operations and Information Management Department, Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst.

It was delightful to see several of our Isenberg UMass PhD alums there, including recently promoted and tenured Michelle Li, and Heng Chen, and Sara Saberi also took part. My colleague, Ahmed Ghoniem, also was at the conference. It was lovely to meet many other conferees and to reconnect with others through such warm, fascinating conversations, including a great conversation with Andres F. Jola-Sanchez! As promised, I have posted our presentations on the Virtual Center for Supernetworks site: https://supernet.isenberg.umass.edu/visuals.html

Thanks also to Springer Nature Group Editor Matthew Amboy for displaying my Labor and Supply Chain Networks book at the Springer booth at the conference!

With best wishes to everyone as the end of the academic year comes to a close and with many summer conferences on the horizon!

Friday, March 29, 2024

It Was Great to Be Back at MIT to Speak on Agricultural Supply Chain Networks and Trade Policies

This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of speaking at MIT at the Center for Transportation and Logistics in its seminar series. I'd like to thank Austin Iglesias Saragih for the invitation to speak. The title of my presentation was: Agricultural Supply Chain Networks: Trade, Policies, and Resilience.


In my seminar, I first highlighted research that we had done on food supply chains over the past decade with collaborators: Min Yu, Deniz Besik, and Pritha Dutta (all of whom were my former PhD students, and now are thriving as Professors), and, more recently, with my present PhD student Dana Hassani and collaborators at the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev. 

In my presentation, I did a deep dive into the paper, "Exchange Rates and Multicommodity International Trade: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Modeling with Policy Instruments via Variational Inequalities," Anna Nagurney, Dana Hassani, Oleg Nivievskyi, and Pavlo Martyshev, Journal of Global Optimization 87: (2023), pp 1-30.

The paper was the lead article in the volume and was also displayed at the INFORMS Phoenix conference. In the below photo I am standing next to the journal Editor, Professor Sergiy Butenko, and my PhD student Dana Hassani. The Springer editors Razia Amzad and Christian Rauscher are next to Dana.


I also discussed some results from my Labor and Supply Chain Networks book.


I am very grateful to the audience for the excellent questions and discussions and to Austin for handling the logistics of my visit. 

It was also extra special to have one of my former students, Emilio Alvarez Flores, who is now pursuing an MBA at Sloan at MIT, come to my presentation. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Dr. Elenna Dugundji, who is a Research Scientist at the Center for Transportation ad Logistics at MIT.


My talk was also streamed on Zoom (which I had not been informed of). It was great to see MIT faculty Zooming in and others from different locations, including Georgia Tech.

It was terrific to be back at MIT. Coincidentally, the Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) is located at 1 Amherst Street in Cambridge so I felt right at home. I had spent 2 years at MIT and recall when the OR Center was also located there.

In my presentation, I discussed the importance of alternative routes and appropriate policies for agricultural trade with a focus on the impacts of Russia's war on Ukraine and, that night, as we all know, the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being hit by the cargo ship Dali. I had multiple requests for media interviews but had to decline because of my presentation and meetings at MIT. Lo and behold, whom did I see on the TV news, a few hours afterwards - none other than the Director of CTL, Professor Yossi Sheffi! He had hugged me when he saw me at MIT, something his PhD students told me they have never seen him do before. Professor Sheffi was also my host when I had an NSF Visiting Professorship for Women at MIT and I spent my first year at CTL, which was then located in Building 1.


The slide deck of my seminar presentation is posted on the Supernetwork Center website.

I had previously given a seminar at MIT in December 2015 and was hosted by Professor Carolina Osorio, who is no longer at MIT. She and Professor Jim Orlin joined us for dinner after my talk and Professor Orlin even Zoomed into my presentation this past Tuesday. My blogpost with photos from that visit can be accessed here.

That evening, I stopped by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) at Harvard University, where I has been a Science Fellow in 2005-2006. The Fellows that year included Professor Claudia Goldin, who in 2023 received the Nobel Prize in Economics. I had been back to RIAS as a Summer Fellow twice since then.

And to celebrate being back in Cambridge, we enjoyed a delicious Amareno gelato topped by a chocolate macaron.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Reflection on the 2nd Anniversary of Russia's Full Scale Invasion of Ukraine

Hard to believe that it has been two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation in Europe, on February 24, 2022.

Ukraine and Ukrainians in Russia's illegal, unprovoked war have endured an immense toll in terms of suffering, lives lost, injuries sustained, families separated, plus damages to critical infrastructure, homes, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, cultural institutions, agricultural facilities and land, as well as to nature and the environment. The Ukrainian economy has suffered immensely, exacerbating global food insecurity since Ukraine is known as a breadbasket with its rich chernozem (black soil) and is a big producer of wheat, corn, and sunflower seeds.

Ukrainians everywhere have been affected by this horrific war, which  has also resulted in millions of displaced people. All those on our planet who value freedom, safety, civility, and, of course, democracy continue to be amazed by the courage, tenacity and resilience of Ukrainians and their love for their country.

Incredibly, we are also marking the almost 2 year anniversary of the historic partnership between the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE). In such historic, very challenging times, one does what one can and UMass Amherst has been visionary in establishing this partnership, so soon after the full-scale invasion. It endures and is flourishing.

In the past year, 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, through this partnership, have worked with Faculty Hosts at UMass Amherst (9 of them based in the Isenberg School of Management). Our collaborations across the miles have synergized research, have built friendships, and have resulted in significant research publications plus conference presentations. 

Just last week, we hosted the second visit of the President of KSE, Dr. Tymofiy Mylovanov, who gave an outstanding presentation on leading his university in wartime. And last spring, we organized a symposium featuring the Virtual Scholars and their Faculty Hosts with the Rector of KSE, Dr. Tymofii Brik, also in attendance. Plus, he delivered a seminar.

What has been truly remarkable this year, is that 4 exchange students from KSE joined us at UMass Amherst. It has been a delight to get to know them and I am deeply grateful to Isenberg School Dean Anne P. Massey for even hosting a lunch in their honor.

And the exchange students spoke on a panel at the Isenberg School about their experiences.

Listen to their interview and be inspired.

Thanks to all who have been instrumental in the success of our partnership from the top administrators to Faculty Hosts and also to the students of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, who have provided their energy and thoughtfulness in helping us to organize many events. 

Last year, I wrote a reflection on the 1 year anniversary.

There has been media coverage of many of our activities and events and we are grateful for the coverage and for getting the messages out. For some examples, please see various postings on the Supernetwork Center website.

A collection of relevant videos can be accessed here.

Some of our research publications with Ukrainian colleagues can be found here.

It has been extremely meaningful for me to have served as a Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of KSE for almost 2 years now as well as being a member of its Board of Directors and International Academic Board with truly amazing colleagues for over half a decade now.

Sustaining institutions of higher education in Ukraine is of the utmost importance and I am so proud of the work that UMass Amherst is doing in this regard. Special thanks go out to my amazing Dean Anne P. Massey and to the Director of our International Programs Office and Vice Provost for Global Affairs Dr. Kalpen Trivedi for their terrific leadership as well as to the support provide by Provost Dr. Mike Malone.

It is high time that all democratic nations give Ukraine everything that it needs in order for it to be able to defeat the evil invaders and occupiers. The future of our planet and our way of life depend on it.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Higher Ed Leadership In Ukraine in Wartime - KSE President Tymofiy Mylovanov

This past Monday, we had the honor and pleasure of hosting Dr. Tymofiy Mylovanov, the President of the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This was his second visit to UMass Amherst - his first was on February 22, 2023. 

His visit was very timely, as was his lecture,  since we are approaching the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Mylovanov had sent me a message just a few days before his arrival saying that he would like to visit and speak and, despite multiple logistical hurdles and scheduling issues, we made it work.

Leading a university is extremely challenging and leading one in wartime, with success, is extraordinary.

I have had the great honor of serving as a Co-Chair of the KSE of Board of Directors, having been elected shortly after the full-scale invasion. But my relationship with KSE has been over half a decade, since I also serve on its International Academic Board and its Board of Directors. Also, back in March 2022, UMass Amherst and KSE established a partnership, which has further synergized our connections, and is now supporting both exchange students from KSE as well as Virtual Scholars in Ukraine (we will be starting the second round soon) to reduce brain drain.

The leadership exhibited by KSE President Mylovanov is one characterized by: immense care for the safety of his students, faculty and staff; agility in creating new degree programs at KSE; talent in connecting with thought leaders and disseminating the needs and accomplishments of KSE to donors, stakeholders, and the world at large; expanding KSE to include a business school, and supporting the outstanding KSE Institute, which produces many white papers and studies of relevance in wartime that are regularly cited by international media,  plus growing the KSE Charitable Foundation to assist in the financing of humanitarian endeavors in Ukraine. Such important activities require steadfastness, great intelligence, resilience, and ability to get data and information quickly. It also requires innovation and associated thinking under immense pressures and even danger.

What also truly inspires me is his understanding of the importance of not only face to face education but also visiting supporters and donors and advocating for KSE and Ukraine in person.

Below is a photo of Dr. Mylovanov presenting at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst this past Monday.


UMass Amherst issued this nice press release announcing his talk. The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, in turn, prepared this nice poster, and the students, along with the International Programs Office at UMass and the Isenberg School helped with the logistics.

During his visit, Dr. Mylovanov met with top university administrators, faculty, and students, and also had a chance to chat with guests. At the meeting with the Provost, the VCRE, and the Director of our International Programs Office, Dr. Mylovanov made a statement that I found vey moving and, also, informative. He said that we all will die, so we need to identify what will be our legacy. His, he believes, is building up the Kyiv School of Economics and that is "his mile." He also, when asked, responded to the challenges of being a public persona. He is, above his educational leadership role, also a frequent guest on CNN, BBC and other media and news platforms. He said that he plays a public role because he believes that there are positives and, I believe, his sharing of information and commentary is beneficial not only to KSE but also to those interested in Ukraine around the globe.

I was thrilled to have him emphasize the importance of the partnership between UMass Amherst and KSE and its highly original model of supporting both students, as through the exchange program, and also research since Virtual Scholars in Ukraine are partnered with Faculty Hosts at UMass Amherst. Last year, for example, there were 9 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine working with faculty at the Isenberg School, and 15 Scholars total placed with UMass faculty. We have organized  joint symposia, and have published terrific journal articles and have also had multiple conference presentations based on the collaborations across the miles. The friendships that have been made support the researchers in Ukraine and are enriching to those of us who have the honor of working with them. Some additional information on the partnership can be found here.

Below is a photo of KSE President Mylovanov with two of our KSE exchange students after the lunch on Monday.

The attendance at his presentation at the Isenberg School was excellent, despite a short notice, and also a last minute room change.

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter conducted an interview with Dr. Mylovanov and a gift was presented to him. We will let you know when the interview is posted on the Chapter's youtube channel.

It was wonderful to have discussions with him over lunch and dinner and I am very grateful to all the administrators who made time in their very busy schedules to meet with us.




There will be additional media coverage, but many thanks to Daniella Pikman for her article on Dr. Mylovanov's presentation published already in the Daily Collegian.

Below is a collage of photos capturing the highlights of Mylovanov's visit. Thanks to all who took part. And, with a pending snowstorm, we managed to find him a hotel next to Bradley Airport and he caught a 6AM flight to DC on Tuesday morning (his 10AM flight had been cancelled) and made his meetings there in time. Quite a few neighboring universities were closed on Tuesday but not UMass Amherst.


Thanks to KSE President Tymofiy Mylovanov for the extraordinary leadership of KSE in Ukraine! Information on KSE is here.