LIDS Joins MIT Schwarzman College of Computing


LIDS, together with IDSS, officially joined the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing on January 1, 2020. The mission of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is to address the opportunities and challenges of the computing age — from hardware to software to algorithms to artificial intelligence (AI) — by transforming the capabilities of academia in three key areas: supporting the rapid evolution and growth of computer science and AI; facilitating collaborations between computing and other disciplines; and focusing on social and ethical responsibilities of computing through combining technological approaches and insights from social science and humanities, and through engagement beyond academia.

Since starting his position in August 2019, Daniel Huttenlocher (see the photo below), the inaugural dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, has been working with many stakeholders in designing the initial organizational structure of the college. “The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing is both bringing together existing MIT programs in computing and developing much-needed new cross-cutting educational and research programs,” says Huttenlocher. “For existing programs, the college helps facilitate coordination and manage the growth in areas such as computer science, artificial intelligence, data systems and society, and operations research, as well as helping strengthen interdisciplinary computing programs such as computational science and engineering. For new areas, the college is creating cross-cutting platforms for the study and practice of social and ethical responsibilities of computing, for multi-departmental computing education, and for incubating new interdisciplinary computing activities.”

The following existing departments, institutes, labs, and centers are now part of the college:

  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer (EECS), which has been reorganized into three overlapping sub-units of electrical engineering (EE), computer science (CS), and artificial intelligence and decision-making (AI+D), and is jointly part of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and School of Engineering;
  • Operations Research Center (ORC), which is jointly part of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and MIT Sloan School of Management;
  • Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), which will be increasing its focus on the societal aspects of its mission while also continuing to support statistics across MIT, and including the Technology Policy Program (TPP) and Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC);
  • Center for Computational Science Engineering (CCSE), which is being renamed from the Center for Computational Engineering and broadening its focus in the sciences;
  • Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL);
  • Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS); and
  • Quest for Intelligence.

Still in the early planning stages, these programs are the aspects of the college that are designed to cut across lines and involve a number of departments throughout MIT. Other programs are expected to be introduced as the college continues to take shape.


“The typical academic approach would be to wait until it’s clear what to do, but that would be a mistake. The way we’re going to learn is by trying and by being more flexible. That may be a more general attribute of the new era we’re living in, he says. “We don’t know what it’s going to look like years from now, but it’s going to be pretty different, and MIT is going to be shaping it.”

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