Fall 2009 UMASS Amherst
Operations Research / Management Science Seminar Series

Date: Friday, November 6, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Isenberg School of Management, Room 112

Speaker: Professor Richard Palmer

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Biography: Dr. Richard Palmer is the Head and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. From 1979 to 2008, he was a professor at the University of Washington. His primary areas of interest are in the application of structured planning approaches to water resources. This includes impacts of climate change on water resources, drought planning, real-time water resource management, and the application of decision support to civil engineering management problems. He helped develop the field of shared vision modeling in water resources planning and pioneered the use of virtual drought exercises.

Dr. Palmer received his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1979, his Master's of Science in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University in 1973. He received the Service to the Profession Award from the Water Resources Planning and Management Division of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 1998. He was awarded the Certificate of Recognition for his editorial services to the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management of ASCE in 1997, for which he was editor from 1993-1997. He was awarded the Huber Award for Research Excellence by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 1992. This honor was based upon his innovative application of simulation and optimization techniques to issues in water resource management. He received recognition for the Best Practice-Oriented Paper of the Year in the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management by the ASCE in 1989. During his Ph.D. research he was a member of a team at Johns Hopkins University and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin recognized as a finalist by ASCE for Engineering Achievement of the Year in 1983. In 2006, he received from ASCE the Julian Hinds Award for his contributions to water resources planning and his research related to the impacts of climate change on water resources.

TITLE: A Decision Support System for Optimizing Reservoir Operations using Ensemble Streamflow Predictions (ESP)

Abstract: This paper investigates the value of Ensemble Streamflow Predictions (ESP) and energy price forecasts in the operation of a hydropower system. Forecasts of streamflow and energy prices are used to schedule the quantity and timing of reservoir releases for daily, weekly, and seasonal operations while meeting regulatory constraints. A decision support system is described that incorporates two integrated operating models: a simulation model that replicates general operating rules for the hydropower system and an optimization model that refines operations based upon forecasts of state variables. The decision support system provides a series of recommendations for the quantity and timing of reservoir releases to optimize the economic value of the electrical energy produced, while balancing requirements and concerns related to flood control, and environmental flows. The decision support system generates a range of optimal reservoir releases though the use of an ensemble streamflow forecast and identifies robust operational solutions. The results from the investigation of the value of forecasts show how the decision support system can be used to improve operations of the reservoir system.

This series is organized by the UMASS Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. Support for this series is provided by the Isenberg School of Management, the Department of Finance and Operations Management, INFORMS, and the John F. Smith Memorial Fund.

Dr. Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor of Operations Management in the Isenberg School of Management,  is the Faculty Advisor of the Speaker Series.