Poster earns PhD student second place at INFORMS conference


Ghazal Assadipour

Oct. 29, 2013

A Memorial PhD student has earned second place in a worldwide interactive poster competition at the INFORMS annual general meeting.

Ghazal Assadipour, a third-year student in the PhD in management program at the Faculty of Business Administration, developed the poster and presented it at the annual conference for the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), Oct. 6-9 in Minneapolis, Minn. INFORMS is the largest society in the world for professionals in the fields of operations research, management science and analytics.

“The poster competition provided an opportunity for me to present a part of my research to the judges, who are all experts in my research area, and receive positive feedback that helps me in my research,” says Ms. Assadipour.

While the total number of contest entrants is unknown, 50 were selected as semi-finalists. From there, the competitors were narrowed down through two more rounds, which included five-minute presentations about their poster topics, until the top three finalists were decided.

“[The judges] were impressed by the fact that my model had been applied to a real world case and was practical,” says Ms. Assadipour. “This was the first time I provided a poster for this competition and it was so much fun!

“The competition was so fierce. All the semi-finalists were from top universities and had done great jobs. I was so happy to be in second place.”

Ms. Assadipour’s poster looked at the question of how best to route containers carrying hazardous materials in order to minimize cost and risk, all within the context of an intermodal rail service chain called Norfolk Southern, which operates in the southern United States.

“My poster analyzes the problem of capacity planning and of routing regular and hazmat materials in a rail-truck intermodal network when the demand for transportation is uncertain.”

Originally from Iran, Ms. Assadipour began the PhD program in 2010. She holds a bachelor of science in computer engineering and a master of science in industrial engineering, both from the University of Tehran, and is supervised by Dr. Ginger Ke and Dr. Manish Verma at the Faculty of Business Administration. Her research focuses on the intermodal transportation of hazardous materials.

Susan White-MacPherson