I attended the launch event for MIT’s new Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS). IDSS is a new entity at MIT with the goal to bring together researchers in data science, statistics, systems, economics, and social science to address big societal challenges. Examples include the modernization of transportation networks, energy generation/distribution, healthcare, and financial markets. For each of these areas, rapid growth is outpacing our ability to control, operate, and manage. The big question is: how can the judicious and principled use of data help us ensure efficiency, robustness, safety, security, and privacy moving forward?

The two-day launch event featured talks from leading economists, social scientists, medical doctors, statisticians, engineers, and other researchers, building the case for why IDSS is not only important in general, but necessary right now. Nate Silver even dropped in to talk about the future of elections! Overall a wonderful event and I look forward to seeing the research products of IDSS in the years to come! Attached is the view of the Charles River from the sixth floor of the MIT Media Lab.