Research at IDSS addresses some of the most pressing information and systems challenges facing the world, exploring big questions such as: How can we ensure a globally stable financial system? How do we architect robust transportation systems for the future? How do we design fiscally and environmentally sound energy systems?

Our approach

A landmark intersection of engineering and social sciences at MIT, IDSS takes a holistic and data-driven approach to analyzing complex, high-impact systems in society. IDSS research integrates systems thinking, state-of-the art quantitative analysis, and an understanding of human and institutional behavior into its methodologies, aiming to address broad overarching challenges inherent to highly interconnected and data-rich systems. Specifically, our research explores:

  • Resilience and Systemic Risk
  • System Design and Architecture
  • Sustainability and Policy
  • Data-to-Decisions

Our researchers

Research at IDSS is rooted in three core disciplines: statistics and data science, information and decision theory, and human and institutional behavior. IDSS researchers span all three disciplines, yielding a novel, multi-faceted understanding of research problems.

Rigorous computational and analytical approaches for analysis and design of complex systems in IDSS are anchored in research developed at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), which forms the research backbone of IDSS. LIDS, the longest running research lab at MIT, is a global leader in advancing information and decision sciences. Its research cuts across core engineering disciplines, building foundational knowledge for research and applications across many different domains and application areas.

IDSS is also ushering in the next generation of researchers and thought leaders in social and engineering systems. A current cohort of Engineering Systems PhD students is using interdisciplinary approaches to address complex societal challenges. Incoming students will be trained to address such complex challenges by employing and developing new techniques at the intersection of the core disciplines of IDSS.

Our domains of expertise

IDSS researchers are working in a broad range of applications. Five key domains of expertise include:

Using the power of data, we bring a systems approach to these critically important areas. Our research can help build trust around infrastructure, inform policy making, and offer innovative solutions to complex challenges. From foundational theory to institutional and scientific application, IDSS research yields important new insights in an era of unprecedented interconnection.

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