Northwestern fellow to discuss logistics for delivering humanitarian relief

Published: Jan 22, 2009 9:13:00 AM
Media Contact: Sally Credille,, 334.844.3447

Burcu Balcik, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University, will present "Equitable Routing Decisions in Humanitarian Relief" on Friday, Jan. 30, at 10 a.m. in 3210 Shelby Center. Her lecture is hosted by Auburn University's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

A majority of operations research applications and models focus on performance metrics and objectives based on effectiveness and efficiency. Equity is a key goal of nonprofit and public sector operations that has been studied less than effectiveness and efficiency, particularly in the area of humanitarian relief.

In her talk, Balcik will introduce the "last mile distribution problem," which addresses making equitable vehicle routing and delivery scheduling decisions for relief supplies. She will present a mathematical model and a simulated annealing-based heuristic, as well as an overview of incorporating equity in operations research models and routing applications that consider equity.

Balcik earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. She received her doctoral degree in industrial engineering from the University of Washington. Her research interests include developing mathematical models and solution methods to improve the performance of nonprofit supply chain and the transportation and logistics applications in disaster relief and food bank operations.