Ding Zhang
Zhang enjoys connecting classroom with real-world solutions

This week’s Campus Update Spotlight shines on Ding Zhang. The professor of marketing and management started teaching at Oswego in 1995.

Q. What classes do you teach?
I have been teaching management science, decision analysis, materials management, operations management and business forecasting, both for undergraduates and graduates.

Q. What are your research interests?
Overall, I can describe my research theme as competition over network. It encompasses areas like supply-chain management, transportation, spatial economics and international logistics. On a more theoretical level, I also work in game theory, variational inequalities and dynamical systems.

Q. What is your educational background?
I did my bachelor’s in mathematics, and my master’s in operations research, both in China. I have my Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Q. What is your favorite part of working at Oswego?
I like teaching all my classes, but I especially enjoy teaching my students to translate a real-world business decision-making process into a mathematical model. In class, we can use it to solve problems in the social sciences, business management or engineering to show its value. It cannot only benefit their experiences but also strengthen their decision-making skills. The students like doing it and I enjoy teaching it.

Q. What is your impression of Oswego’s students?
I think they are getting better and better, and very hard working. I enjoy spending time with them. I almost see two types of students: The traditional ones who are often better at tests and homework, and the non-traditional ones who are more mature and look at problems much more in depth. It’s good to put those two types together in group projects, as they learn from each other.

Q. And you’re also doing some international projects?
I’m actively involved in research projects in China. They have some very big projects, big international ports where they need to study the feasibility of what they want to do. Urban transportation is a big problem there. Recently I took Oswego students to a program in China at Hanzhou University. I thought it was a great opportunity for American students to experience life there.

Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
My recent work in supply chain management is development of a mathematical model for supply chain vs. supply chain competition. Both industry and academics see today’s competition is no longer of a firm vs. a firm but a supply chain vs. a supply chain. But due to the complexity of a supply chain network, there had been lack of scientific approach to study this subject. I am the first to raise a concept called supply chain economy based on which I gave a mathematical formulation for an intersupply chain competition problem. My co-authored book with Anna Nagurney titled Projected Dynamic Systems has advanced the understanding of the dynamic behavior of many sophisticated social and economic equilibrium problems. It has substantial applications in spatial economics, finance, transportation, environment and regional planning. My research has been published in such professional journals as Transportation Science, Transportation Research, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Networks, Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, Annals of Regional Science, European Journal of Operational Research and others. One of my co-authored papers published in Transportation Research was listed among the top 10 cited articles in that publication.

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
I like hiking and do martial arts and tai chi. I used to play bridge with some Oswego colleagues, but haven’t done much lately. I have a voluntary position as principal of the Central New York Chinese School, a Sunday school in Manlius.

Q. What can you tell us about your family?
My wife June Dong also works at Oswego State. We are kind of lucky that we both work in close areas, so we co-author articles and research. We have two kids, Alex, 13, and Alena, 10

(Posted: Nov 23, 2009)