Niles Perera is a passionate forecasting researcher based in Sri Lanka who is motivated to contribute to his community through research and teaching. He is the Professor in Supply Chain Management at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and holds a PhD from The University of Sydney, Australia. Niles has won numerous local and global accolades while actively collaborating with over twenty universities around the world. As a member of IIF, Niles has been part of the Early Career Forecasters board since 2021.
How did you become a forecaster?
I always had an interest on numbers and statistics since I was child. This was partly inspired by father who was a genius at mathematics. However, I never really considered becoming a forecaster until I commenced my PhD. In my first year of study at The University of Sydney, I was supposed to narrow down my PhD research topic within supply chain management. This led me to read a lot of scientific literature that piqued my interest on forecasting, and I was convinced that this was what I’m meant to do.
What areas of forecasting interest you?
I’m primarily interested in judgmental forecasting. I worked in the industry for a couple of years before joining academia. This experience made me understand that many forecasts in practice are adjusted or influenced by practitioners. This has developed an insatiable appetite for research on judgmental forecasting. I also engage in energy demand forecasting as well as all forms of supply chain forecasting. Over the last few years, I’ve been conducting research on applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, backcasting and hierarchical forecasting in supply chains.
How has the International Journal of Forecasting influenced you?
The International Journal of Forecasting has been an outlet I’ve often looked up to inspire my work. I often refer to publications on IJF to craft my own work and it is a recommended reading for all my forecasting students.
What do you do in your free time?
I love to spend time with my family and to travel. I’m also an ardent sports fan who always finds time to watch soccer and cricket whenever my favorite teams are playing. I also like listening to music.