INFORMS speaker series begins Feb. 23

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) spring speaker series will feature public talks by six experts on various aspects of the field.

All talks take place on scheduled Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon in 112 Isenberg School of Management. After each presentation, interested guests are welcome to join the speaker for additional conversation at lunch at the University Club.

The series opens Feb. 23 with a seminar on “Competition and Efficiency in Congested Networks” led by Asu Ozdaglar of the department of electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ozdaglar holds MIT’s Class of ‘43 Development Chair, which is focused on faculty with exceptional strengths in both teaching and research. She joined EECS in 2003 after receiving her Ph.D. from MIT. Her research is at the intersection of optimization and game theory. She develops new game-theoretic models for resource allocation problems in different types of networks, such as wireline/wireless communication networks, transportation networks and electricity markets, which take into account the strategic interactions between agents with competing objectives. She received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award in 2006.

Richard C. Larson, the Mitsui Professor of Engineering Systems and Civil and Environmental Engineering and the founding director of the Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals at MIT, will speak on “Simple Models of Influenza Progression and Control” on March 9. Larson has focused his career on operations research as applied to service industries. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is an INFORMS Founding Fellow. He has been honored with the INFORMS’ President’s Award and the Kimball Medal. His first book, “Urban Police Patrol Analysis,” published by MIT Press in 1972, received the Lanchester Prize. He serves on the boards of several companies and has served as a consultant to, among others, the World Bank and the United Nations. His research has been covered by the national media. In his presentation, Larson will discuss the need for new mathematical modeling of pandemic influenza and its control since most “experts” say that an influenza pandemic is inevitable and the threat is being viewed seriously by virtually all nations of the world. He will present a new model, along with key findings, on ways to limit and, perhaps, even to eradicate pandemic influenza.

Karen R. Polenske of the department of urban studies and planning (DUSP) at MIT will speak on “Coke and Steel: The Strategic Significance of their Regional Development in China in the Global Supply Chain” on March 16. Polenske is the head of the International Development Group and the director of the Multiregional Research Team at DUSP. She is also a member of the MIT Energy Research Council. She received her doctorate from Harvard University, where her dissertation supervisor was Nobel laureate Wassily Leontief. In 2005, Polenske was named a fellow of the Regional Science Association International for her research and scholarly contributions, which include several books. Her talk will analyze regional economic development planning in China in relation to the coke sector in Shanxi and Lianoning Provinces. She will examine the industrial energy efficiency and pollution and the global effects of China’s enforcement of environmental regulations.

Assistant professor Daiheng Ni of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will deliver a talk entitled “Transportation Modeling and Simulation: an Effort of 50+ Years” on March 30. Ni received his Ph.D. with a specialization in transportation and operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He joined the CEE faculty in 2004 and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. He has published in such journals asIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, the International Journal of Emergency Management and Applied Mathematical Modelling.

David Parkes, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences and Associate Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University, will speak on “Adaptive Online Allocation Mechanisms for Single-Valued Domains” on April 13. Parkes was awarded the NSF Career Award in 2002 and the IBM Faculty Partnership Award in 2002 and 2003. He received his doctorate in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania and his master’s in engineering and computing science from Oxford University. He has published on electronic commerce, auction design, multi-agent systems, and bounded rationality and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence. He also serves on the program committees of a number of leading conferences in artificial intelligence, multiagent systems and electronic commerce.

Professor David J. McLaughlin of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the director of the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) will speak on “Chasing Interdisciplinarity while Chasing Tornadoes” on April 27. CASA is an NSF Engineering Research Center created with Colorado State University, University of Oklahoma, and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and is a national-scale research project involving nearly 200 people from 19 different organizations with the 10-year goal of revolutionizing the ability to predict and respond to extreme weather events. McLaughlin received his Ph.D. from UMass Amherst and was at Northeastern University from 1989-99. He joined the ECE faculty in 2000. His research interests include radar remote sensing, hurricane chasing and sensor networks. He has been recognized by the Alumni Association with a Distinguished Faculty Award.

The series is organized by the INFORMS student chapter, whose faculty advisor is Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor. Support for the series is provided by the Isenberg School, the Department of Finance and Operations Management and the John F. Smith Memorial Fund.