The peril and the promise of networks of people connected by machines is becoming ever more apparent in our daily lives, as we begin to see a succession of impacts.
MIT Connection Science is improving organizations through deep insights into human behavior and targeted interventions that leverage human networks. With applications ranging from energy to financial services to social adoption of new ideas, we design better tools to foster a better society.
From the flash crash to Arab Spring to the Northeast Blackout to the polarized US political landscape. Human systems are behaving in ever-more-unstable fashions.
At the same time, new frontiers of opportunity are opening up in healthcare, in finance, and in society.
The mission of MIT Connection Science is to revolutionize technology-mediated human networks through analysis, prediction, data-driven design, and evaluation.
Alex “Sandy” Pentland
Alex “Sandy” Pentland is founding faculty director of the MIT Connection Science Research Initiative, which uses network science to access and change real-world human behavior, and is the Toshiba Professor of Media, Arts, and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also holds a triple appointment at MIT in Media Arts and Sciences, Engineering Systems Division and with the Sloan School of Business.
Sandy has helped create and direct MIT’s Media Lab, the Media Lab Asia, and the Center for Future Health. He chairs the World Economic Forum's Data Driven Development Council, is Academic Director of the Data-Pop Alliance, and is a member of the Advisory Boards for Google, Nissan, Telefonica, the United Nations Secretary General, Monument Capital, and the Minerva Schools.
In 2012 Forbes named Sandy one of the “seven most powerful data scientists in the world”, along with Google founders and the CTO of the United States, and in 2013 he won the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review. He is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing (Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review, as well as being the focus of TV features on BBC World, Discover and Science channels. His most recent book is Social Physics, published by Penguin Press.
Over the years Sandy has advised more than 50 PhD students. Almost half are now tenured faculty at leading institutions, with another one-quarter leading industry research groups and a final quarter are founders of their own companies. Sandy's research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off more than 30 companies to date, three of which are publicly listed and several that serve millions of poor in Africa and South Asia. Recent spin-offs have been featured in publications such as The Economist and The New York Times, as well as winning a variety of prizes from international development organizations.
Sandy holds a B.G.S. from University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
David L. Shrier
David L. Shrier is the Managing Director of MIT Connection Science. He leads other new initiatives for MIT, advises the European Commission on commercializing innovation and building regional innovation capacity, and counsels leadership at private and public companies on growth strategies.
David specializes in unleashing organizational potential, having developed $8.5 billion of growth opportunities globally with companies including GE/NBC Universal, D&B, Wolters Kluwer, The Walt Disney Company, Ernst & Young, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, as well as leading private equity and VC funds. He has also started and/or led a number of private equity and venture capital-backed companies as CEO, CFO or COO.
An accomplished public speaker, he has lectured on entrepreneurial finance and corporate innovation in the MBA programs of USC / Marshall, Columbia Business School, Fordham Business School and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) near Geneva, Switzerland. He previously taught corporate venturing and entrepreneurship for three years in NYU's MBA program, where he was an Adjunct Associate Professor. David currently teaches a class in “Data-Driven Healthcare” at MIT, and is developing a workshop on “Inspiring Change Through Strategic Narrative”.
David Shrier was granted an Sc.B. from Brown University in Biology and Theatre.
Todd Reid, ScD, MPH, MBA
Todd Reid is an epidemiologist and global health practitioner at the Harvard School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Reid's research focuses on integrating technology and innovation into public health and the development and management of large-scale longitudinal epidemiological cohort studies. He teaches a course on “Data Driven Healthcare” in the joint Harvard-MIT Health Sciences Technology program. Todd is a research scientist with CATCH and with the MIT Media Lab. Reid also serves as a research scientist and executive committee member of the Africa/Harvard School of Public Health Partnership for Cohort Research and Training (PaCT) studying 500,000 people to investigate Africa’s “epidemiological transition”—the shift to chronic ailments. He trained and worked for over a decade on cohort studies at Harvard Medical School, including the Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS). Todd Reid holds a doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health, an MPH and an MSc. from Harvard University, and a MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He earned a BA in Biology (French and Chemistry minor) from UNC- Chapel Hill.
Connection Science Fellow Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger retired from IBM in May of 2007 after a 37 year career with the company, where his primary focus was on innovation and technical strategy. He led a number of IBM’s companywide initiatives including the Internet and e-business, supercomputing and Linux. From March of 2008 to June of 2014 he was a Strategic Advisor at Citigroup, working on innovation and technology initiatives including the transition to mobile digital money and payments.
He is a Strategic Advisor on Innovation at HBO, Visiting Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Adjunct Professor at the Imperial College Business School, and Executive-in-Residence at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Inno360, ID³ and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives; the Visiting Committee for the Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago; and the Advisory Board of USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab.
Since 2005 Dr. Wladawsky-Berger has been writing a weekly blog, irvingwb.com, which has also been published in the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal since April of 2012.
Dr. Wladawsky-Berger received an M.S. and a Ph. D. in physics from the University of
Praveen Mandal is a Connection Science Fellow. He most recently served as SVP & GM of Emerging Technologies for SGI, and prior to that founder and President of ChargePoint Inc. An experienced entrepreneur and investor, Praveen is a veteran of five successful startup companies including RedBack Networks, Global Internet and Zeitnet.
He serves as a Member of Strategic Advisory Board at Pivot3 and a director with Vic Mahadevan (NetApp), Derrell James (Xerox Global Services), Bob O'Malley (SED) and Praveen Mandal (SGI). He was Director of ChargePoint, Inc. He served as Director of Coulomb Technologies, Inc. and is a co-author of four patents.
Praveen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University.
Stephen Kennedy Smith
Stephen is an entrepreneur, business advisor, and has a long career in the development, funding and expansion of companies. He has served as a director or advisor to several companies, including Gridline Communications Holdings, RAPID Pharmaceuticals, Owl Biomedical and, LocoMobi. Stephen is also an active member of the Kennedy family financial advisory board. He served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Senator Edward Kennedy during his presidential and senatorial campaigns. And also served on the staff of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees. Stephen taught negotiation at Harvard University Law School and is a three-time winner of Harvard’s Danforth Award for Excellence in Teaching and a recipient of the Lyndehurst Foundation prize for social and artistic achievement. Mr. Kennedy-Smith holds an M.A. from Harvard University, a J.D. from Columbia University, and an M.A. Ed. from Harvard’s School for Education.