IDSS News May 2020
Munther Dahleh photo by Lillie Paquette MIT School of Engineering
As IDSS and MIT prepare for a virtual commencement, I know many of us are wondering what the fall will bring. Our COVID collaboration Isolat has been helping MIT leaders with this very challenge, in addition to making inroads with state and local governments. Some of our thinking is included below, and you can read more about Isolat on MIT News. In the spirit of the open, interdisciplinary collaboration that defines IDSS, I invite you to reach out with your contribution or feedback.

Other IDSS research and efforts go on. We've included several stories about these as well. They may provide some respite from pandemic news. To me they offer hope, and a reminder of what a privilege it is to be a part of a community driven by a sense of social responsibility. IDSS brings together caring problem-solvers, and when the pandemic recedes they will still be hard at work devising solutions for society's biggest challenges.

This week our community, though physically separated, will celebrate the successes of our graduates, and see them transition into a very uncertain future. Two things are for sure: they will always be a part of IDSS, and wherever they go will be lucky to have them. Let's all wish them the best.

Munther Dahleh, Director
William A. Coolidge Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
The IDSS COVID-19 Collaboration (Isolat) is a volunteer effort that brings together the broader IDSS community to provide analysis of data associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform policy makers.

Contact for more information.
Widespread testing is essential in understanding the extent of covid-19. But the real potency of testing is not just in information, but control.
What happens if someone doesn’t want to be tested? Should they have the right to opt out and, if so, what is the cost to the community?
This memo summarizes classical and emerging approaches for epidemic modeling in a data-driven manner.
Did shutting down the economy help? Can we (partially) reopen without risking a second wave?We provide guidance for policy makers as they weigh trade-offs between safety, strain on the healthcare system, and economic impact.
The availability of case count data at the county-level in the U.S. allows us to examine the growth phase of the spread by location.
MIT political scientist and IDSS affiliate Adam Berinksy discusses misinformation, trust in science, and safeguarding democracy in a crisis.
Media Lab and IDSS professor Sandy Pentland and his collaborators explore how mobile phone data can help inform public health actions.
IDSS professor Dick Larson envisions a complex model of society's function that identifies and weighs many variables — including but not limited to reducing pandemic deaths.
Systems engineer Sarah Rovito (TPP '16) was working on issues like AI and 5G when the pandemic hit — now it's all-hands-on-deck to address the coronavirus.
The fellowship, which supports MIT doctoral students pursuing sustainability research, was awarded to SES student Minghao Qiu for his work in air pollution and climate change policy by the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative.
Gabe Bann’s passions for data science and social justice led him to TPP, where he studies inequality in disaster vulnerability.
Michael Davidson, Jesse Jenkins, and Valerie Karplus — TPP and IDSS alumni — explore how technology and policy can help save the planet from climate change.
A team co-led by LIDS faculty member Luca Carlone won first place in the second part of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, a competition to develop drones that can navigate underground.
The fellowship supports "transformative, university-based fundamental research" like Mossel's work 'Information Flows on Networks.'
MIT Sloan professor and IDSS affiliate David Rand is a one-time punk rock guitarist whose academic research digs into psychology, cooperation, and politics.
Could you be using data more effectively? Turn your big data into even bigger results in this 7-week course starting Sept 28.
Master the skills needed to solve complex challenges with data. Probability starts Sept 1. Machine Learning starts Sept 8.
"Our models tell us that to lean heavily on renewable energy, we will need much cheaper energy storage," writes IDSS professor Jessika Trancik.
MIT economist and IDSS faculty member Daron Acemoglu’s new research puts a number on the job costs of automation.
Sertac Karman of LIDS and his colleagues have invented a photorealistic simulation engine to train cars to drive in the real world.
Research from David Rand uncovers an "implied-truth effect," where tagging some stories as false makes readers more willing to believe and share untagged stories that are also false.
IDSS professor Jessika Trancik and IDSS postdoc Gökşin Kavlak discuss photovoltaics and forecasting technology evolution in 'Energy technology evolution,' a podcast from the MIT Energy Initiative.
IDSS postdoc Magdalena Klemun joins the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative's 'Today I Learned' Climate podcast to discuss the challenges and opportunities of wind and solar power.