Spring 2009 UMASS Amherst
Operations Research / Management Science Seminar Series

Date: Friday, February 20, 2009

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

Speaker: Professor Ellis Johnson

Coca-Cola Chaired Professor
School of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA

Biography: Dr. Ellis Johnson is the Coca-Cola Chaired Professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received a B.A. in mathematics at Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. in operations research at the University of California. Before joining Georgia Tech in 1995, he was at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center for 26 years. There, he founded and managed the Optimization Center from 1982 until 1990, when he was named an IBM Corporate Fellow. In 1980-1981, he visited the University of Bonn, Germany, as the recipient of the Alexander Von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award. In 1984, Dr. Johnson received the George Dantzig Award for his research in mathematical programming. In 1986, he was awarded the Lanchester Prize for his paper with Crowder and Padberg. In 1988, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2000, Dr. Johnson won the INFORMS John Von Neumann Theory Prize. From 1990 to 1995, he began teaching and conducting research at Georgia Tech, where he co-founded and co-directed the Logistics Engineering Center with Professor George Nemhauser. Dr. Johnson's research interests in logistics include: crew scheduling and real-time repair, fleet assignment and routing, distribution planning, network problems, and combinatorial optimization.

TITLE: Major Airline Challenges and OR (Operations Research)
Abstract: The five major challenges discussed are: 1 Fuel Cost, 2 Environmental Concerns, 3. Security from terrorism, 4. Lower profits, High Loads, and 5. Passenger Revolt. We discuss each of these, point to some current work being done in operations research, and look at long-range solutions. Fuel cost has risen to be the dominant factor in operating costs. Operating practices need to be adjusted to take into account this new reality. For example, planes are frequently speeded up to get back on schedule. Perhaps schedules need to have longer block times to reduce this fuel inefficient practice. This example is just one of many. Long range solutions will be discussed. Environmental concerns focus mainly on emissions and noise. Clearly reducing fuel usage addresses both 1 and 2. But, for example, using biofuels would ease concern over CO2 emissions but may not reduce fuel cost. Security remains a concern and airlines have to deal with passenger delays due to screening. Some ideas on airport design will be discussed. New airports need to look at screening and the costly renovations of existing airports to account for security concerns. Finally, the contradictory state of high loads and low profits will be discussed. Reasons for it include breakdown of market segmentation due in part to increased use of online booking. The result has been more passengers at lower fares. The resulting high loads have made rebooking passengers difficult and has led to excessively long passenger delays. These delays are just one factor in a rising tide of dissatisfaction leading to calls and legislative action on passenger bill of rights.

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.