Three very exciting and well-organized workshops on advanced GAMS features as well as CGE modeling took place this May. For this adventure, Michael, Steve and Freddy from GAMS teamed up with Agapi Somwaru who recently retired from USDA and Xinshen Diao from IFPRI, two experts in CGE modeling. Yumei Zhang from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) was our main local contact for the entire trip. After arriving in Beijing and having the opportunity to visit some incredible places like the Summer Palace and the Great Wall, we started our first two-day workshop in Beijing. CGE modeling in GAMS turned out to be a hot topic! Yumei had to reschedule our room twice, since more than a hundred people had registered for the course.
During the two days we covered a wide range of topics, from dynamic sets to the PEATSim model, a dynamic partial-equilibrium model developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and presented by Agapi. In addition, some of the latest GAMS features like the Embedded Code facility, Jupyter notebooks and GAMS MIRO were introduced. A day of traveling with the lightning-fast Chinese bullet train to Hangzhou followed, where we held a similar workshop at Zhejiang University. The audience in both workshops was highly motivated and we had some very interesting discussions. After visiting the gorgeous West Lake in Hangzhou as well as the Forbidden City back in Beijing, we were invited to the Beijing Institute of Technology. There we met a group of very productive students and professors from the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. After presenting some custom material on CGE modeling and nonlinear stochastic programming, we worked together to solve some problems they faced in their current work. Additionally, we had the opportunity to visit their impressive research center, where they bundle the expertise of researchers and practitioners to answer strategic questions on energy consumption and climate change. All in all, it was an unforgettable trip with many interesting encounters that benefited both sides. We hope this wasn’t our last journey to China.