IFORS Global Webinar Series

IFORS has launched a Global Webinar Series in 2020!

Several times each year, IFORS will offer free webinars on topics of key interest to those developing and applying Operational Research and Analytics methodologies and models. Speakers from each of the IFORS regions will provide our worldwide community with updates on exciting new challenges, methodologies and solution approaches that impact their region and the world.   

Regional representatives on the Administrative Council of IFORS will select speakers and host the webinar. We hope to highlight research on topics relevant to a wide audience (e.g. epidemiological and supply chain research associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, new approaches to improving health worldwide, impacts of global warming, approaches to conservation, etc.). Some webinars may highlight outstanding issues that need new solutions.  Some of these webinars may have a single speaker providing new research and/or application results while other webinars may be panel discussions. Each regional representative will organize at least one such talk per year with the goal of updating our entire community on important OR activities. 

The overall aim of this webinar series is to strengthen research activities and foster potential collaboration by encouraging the exchange of ideas and the sharing

our successes and challenges.

Upcoming Webinar:

About the Speakers:

Kuo-Hao Chang

Affiliation: National Tsing Hua University, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction 

Email: chang@mx.nthu.edu.tw

Title of Presentation:

Safer Homeland: Developing Evacuation Simulation and Humanitarian Relief Logistics Models for Effective Disaster Preparation and Response in Taiwan


We developed two data-driven, practice-based streams of interrelated post-earthquake disaster operations research, one pertaining to pedestrian evacuation and the other to humanitarian relief logistics. The two studies, published in Decision Support Systems and European Journal of Operational Research, respectively, were carried out in collaboration with the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NCDR) in Taiwan, a think-tank established to strengthen disaster management and risk reduction for the government. Developing these simulation-based disaster operations frameworks was challenging because the post-earthquake environment is highly complex and stochastic and the evacuation and relief goods distribution processes themselves are also characterized as dynamic and uncertain. In particular, the evacuation simulation model was built as an agent-based model in which pedestrian agents decide their walking paths and destination relief centers based on dynamically-changing congestion levels at each cell in a cellular-based road network. Meanwhile, the humanitarian relief logistics models optimize the routing of vehicles and relief goods in order to meet demand at relief centers in minimal time. Extensive numerical experiments were carried out to explore important issues related to both evacuation and humanitarian logistics. Key insights have led to disaster management officials amending evacuation and humanitarian logistics policies which may result in a decrease in human suffering and lives lost. Moreover, these two lines of research have been integrated into a decision support tool called the Comprehensive Disaster Decision Support System, a key component of the all-hazard management approach which is currently being developed by the NCDR and other government entities in Taiwan.


Kuo-Hao Chang is the Distinguished Professor in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management of National Tsing Hua University. He is also serving as the deputy director of National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction in Taiwan. He has received several awards, including the 2012 INFORMS Bonder Scholar Research Award, 2015 IIE Transactions Best Application Paper Award, 2015 K.D. Tocher Medal, 2017 IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing Best Paper Award. He is currently the Associate Editor of several journals, including the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, the Asia-Pacific Journal of Operational Research, and the International Journal of Simulation and Process. He has led his team to successfully completed many university-industry collaboration projects with companies such as TSMC, UMC, LiteOn, VisEra, YOMURA, ITRI, etc. His research interests include simulation optimization, stochastic models and Monte Carlo simulation. His web address is https://chang.ie.nthu.edu.tw. His email is chang@mx.nthu.edu.tw.

Rodrigo Castro

Short Affiliation: University of Buenos Aires and CONICET, Argentina

Full Affiliation: School of Exact and Natural Sciences (FCEyN), University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and Institute of Research in Computer Science (ICC), CONICET, Argentina

Email: rcastro@dc.uba.ar

Title of Presentation:

Simulation and Data Analysis Tools to Support Real-Time Decision Making for Argentina’s COVID-19 Response


In this talk, I will summarize the efforts and innovations of a group of computer scientists, engineers, and mathematicians working together with social scientists and biologists in a project initiated shortly after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina. Our work resulted in a series of contributions to the management of the public health emergency, including data processing and analysis, simulation of future scenarios, evaluation of policy impacts, alternative lockdown schemes, and monitoring of the evolution of key pandemic indicators. These tools were designed to operate in real time, in a context of great uncertainty, in response to frequently changing needs and situations, and in close collaboration with public officials in a developing country whose society and institutions are organized very differently from those of the developed world. All these factors together required that local aspects of social relations and their regional variations be considered in the task of adapting existing strategies and imagining new ones to support evidence-based pandemic policy planning through data analysis and projection of future scenarios.


Rodrigo Castro holds a degree in Electronic Engineering (2004) and a PhD in Engineering (2010) from the National University of Rosario, Argentina. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich, Switzerland (2014). He is currently a professor at the Computer Science Department of the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), and a researcher at the Computer Science Institute (ICC) of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina, where he is head of the Discrete Event Simulation Lab and also serves as Research Secretary in the institute.

His primary research interests revolve around new theoretical foundations, methodologies and software tools for the modeling and simulation of complex systems, with the main purpose of advancing the state of the art in the assisted and systematized construction of simulation models through the incremental composition of heterogeneous (multi-domain, multi-scale and multi-paradigm) system components.