IDSS News October 2020
Munther Dahleh photo by Lillie Paquette MIT School of Engineering
A semester unlike any we’ve ever seen is now underway. MIT has a relatively fortunate position in the pandemic landscape. We have expertise and resources others do not. One crucial advantage: a capacity for testing.

The IDSS Covid-19 Collaboration (Isolat) has brought unique insight to bear on many aspects of the current crisis, especially the challenges of Covid testing strategy. Isolat research informed MIT re-opening policy by providing systems thinking and analysis of data associated with the pandemic. Isolat research has been shared with other colleges and local governments, and Isolat has made public a memo on testing strategies, a Covid predictions dashboard, and a tutorial on epidemic modeling and estimation.

As we continue to adapt, Isolat efforts enter a new phase. Our regular meetings will no longer take place, but research projects continue in new forms. Isolat research has attracted collaborators from around the world; our latest alliance member CIMIT has teamed up with IDSS through an NIH-backed initiative to build a tool that will help organizations make better Covid-19 testing decisions.

Next spring, we plan to host an event to look back on the impact of Isolat and other pandemic research over the year, and to share more about where it is leading. We have scheduled this for April 30th. With luck, our situation will by then be much improved.

See below for news, other Covid perspectives (wear a mask!) and a look at how we’re supporting data science education through education partnerships.

It promises to be a challenging few months ahead. Stay safe, and take care.

Munther Dahleh, Director
William A. Coolidge Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Recommendations for randomized and pooled testing from Isolat were included in a state report that provided a testing framework to help colleges safely reopen their campuses.
Building on Isolat research, CIMIT & IDSS are building tools to help organizations make Covid-19 testing decisions.
In close collaboration with Peruvian social impact platform Aporta, IDSS has developed a virtual tool to help assess learners’ readiness for rigorous online courses in data science.
Media Lab researcher Kate Turner explores how critical race theory can influence science — and how science can inform policy — as an IDSS Research to Policy Engagement Initiative Fellow.
The IDSS Covid-19 Collaboration (Isolat) provides analysis of data associated with the Covid-19 pandemic to inform policy makers.
A summary of Isolat work on Covid testing, plus a look at the testing landscape in the US and at MIT.
Isolat's real-time, interactive dashboard predicts Covid spread using a curve-fitting method to simulate a 'mixture' of multiple outbreaks.
Hear about Isolat's goals, the importance of a multidisciplinary research, and the value of data and modeling to inform policy-making.
A model from SSRC researcher Esteban Moro & IDSS professor Sandy Pentland suggests a plan to keep Covid-19 within the healthcare system's capacity while enabling some economic activities.
A study led by IDSS and Economics professor Victor Chernozhukov suggests that nationally mandating face masks could have reduced pandemic deaths in the US.
A study co-authored by IDSS affiliate David Rand finds "a disconnect between accuracy judgments and sharing intentions."
Hear MIT Sloan and IDSS professor Andrew Lo discuss how Covid-19 may inspire a new way to fund medical R&D on the Freakonomics podcast.
Could you be using data more effectively? Turn your big data into even bigger results in this 7-week course. Register by Oct 9.
Master the skills needed to solve complex challenges with data. Register to watch our latest webinar and learn more.
"I’m now responsible for data science tasks linked to the corona crisis." Credential holders of the MITx MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science move their industries to the cutting edge.