I hope that this message finds you and your families healthy and safe. When we measure the impact of COVID-19 on our community, I'm reminded that some things are impossible to quantify. We are all affected by this crisis, and taking care of each other through it is our first priority.
I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of people say it by now: we are in uncertain times. This energizes the IDSS community to bring crucial skills to bear. Probability and statistics are, after all, tools for measuring uncertainty, and we have expertise in using scientific information to impact policy making. Consistent with our mission at IDSS — to address societal challenges — we plan to combine these skills, along with our focus on the ethical and social implications of policy, to help policy makers confront this crisis.
In that spirit we have launched
, a volunteer collaboration within IDSS to provide analysis of data associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform policy makers.
Our group meets daily to discuss findings from various interconnected research projects, and has already built a ‘data lake’ that allows researchers access to many relevant, up-to-date datasets. We post our findings regularly to invite participation and feedback from the larger community. To collaborate with us, email
I am heartened to see the ways our community has rallied together to overcome our physical distance. With virtual town halls and social events, we are striving to stay connected. We’ve quickly transitioned seminars and even faculty searches online. We’ve implemented weekly coaching to help our students adapt to remote learning.
Until we can gather in person again, please take care of yourselves and each other, explore new ways to connect, and don’t hesitate to reach out. We are all in this together, and I wish you all my best.
Munther Dahleh, Director
William A. Coolidge Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science