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PhD Seminars - Emily Cookson and Ammar Hamamra

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Tuesday 5 February 2013, 11:45
LT2, Management School

The two seminars for this session are:  Emily Cookson (supervisor: Kevin Glazebrook) and Ammar Hamamra (supervisors: David Brown and Paul Devadoss). Emily will be the first speaker followed by Ammar. There will be a buffet lunch at about 1pm following the seminars.

Emily’s title and abstract are:

Models for Air Cargo Revenue Management

Air cargo revenue management can be described as the integrated management of aircraft cargo weight and volume constraints, and chargeable cargo rates. The Air Cargo industry faces some unique challenges: Highly volatile demand, weight/volume uncertainty through variable tendering and very short booking cycles are some of the features. Booking requests can be divided into long-term contract (allotment) and short-term ad-hoc (spot-sale) types which have different characteristics. A new dynamic programming formulation has been developed with potential to aid an air cargo company to maximise its expected profit. The initial model focuses on the spot-sale booking process, making acceptance decisions using cargo prices formulated under uncertainty. Since the dynamic programming formulation is computationally intractable due to the large number of states, the non-linearity of the value functions, high dimensionality and the complexity of the integrals, a discretised version and approximate solutions have been created using numerical analysis methods, including interpolation and numerical integration over probability confidence intervals, to form an executable system in MATLAB with NAG and CPLEX. The proposed model performs significantly better than several comparable policies. As an extension to the booking control model, the optimal proportion of long-term versus short-term contracts is investigated. The current research contemplates strategic decision models that will integrate the allotment and spot-sale booking processes under uncertainty and whilst maximising expected profits.


Ammar’s title and abstract are:

IST provision in UK SMEs in the context of third party provision

The research described here relates to information and systems technology (IST) in a SME setting. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have shown that they have an intrinsic value to the economy and society as the economies of virtually all countries depend heavily on their SME sector. This, together with a changing pattern of information systems and technology (IST) provision towards increased use of third party provision, has provided the focus and rationale for this research.  

SMEs exhibit problems dealing with IST provision arising from both in-house provision and from 3rd party provision in the form of software as a service (SaaS). For in-house provision the evidence in the academic and the practice literatures is considerable. Researchers have tried to address the problems that SMEs face and offer suggested ‘solutions’ e.g. the influential work of Margi Levy and Phillip Powell. For 3rd party provision to SMEs the situation is very different and SaaS provision is an area that is under researched.   The latter leads to the overarching question for this research:  ‘what are the experiences and theoretical implications of UK SMEs accessing and using IST in the context of third party provision?

The objective of this research is twofold. First, it seeks to provide a better theoretical appreciation of how UK SMEs go about the provision of their IST in light of third party provision. Second, it aims to provide guidance for improved practice for SaaS arising from the empirical work and the theoretical insights.

The overall research approach has two dimensions. The first dimension is an empirical design and the second is a theoretical lens or an interpretive framework that will be used to both guide the data collection and interpret the research. The empirical work utilizes a case study strategy, with data collected primarily via face-to-face semi-structured interviews with key IT decision makers in four SMEs in the north west of England. The theoretical lens is improvisation theory.

Ammar Hamamra is a third year PhD student in the Management Science Department at LUMS. He is supervised by Professor David Brown and Dr. Paul Devadoss. Ammar has a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from La Roche College – USA, a Master of Science in Information Systems from Illinois State University – USA. His research interest falls in the field of IST provision and SMEs.




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