Devavrat Shah named director of MIT Statistics and Data Science Center

MIT IDSS | July 12, 2016

Professor Devavrat Shah has been named director of the new MIT Statistics and Data Science Center. As part of the Institute for Data, Systems and Society, this center will focus on the development and management of academic programs in statistics and data science, which include the new undergraduate minor (approved last year), a PhD program in statistics which is under design, and possibly other online offerings in this emerging field. In his role as director, Shah will coordinate with different schools and departments to involve interested faculty in these offerings, coordinate the proposal phases and MIT approval processes, and set up the processes for the management of the programs. He will also be directly involved in IDSS faculty searches in this area.

Professor Shah is a leading figure in the area of statistical inference and stochastic networks. His contributions span a variety of areas including resource allocation in communications networks, inference and learning on graphical models, and algorithms for social data processing including ranking, recommendations and crowd-sourcing. His work encompasses an impressive range of areas across electrical engineering, computer science, and operations research.

“Devavrat is a valued teacher and contributes greatly to EECS, MIT, and his research community,” said Professor Munther Dahleh, IDSS director, in an announcement to the IDSS community. “He is a wonderful citizen of MIT, as demonstrated by his service to EECS (most recently managing the student awards process) and by his leadership in launching Statistics as part of IDSS, and leading the efforts behind launching the statistics minor.”

Shah’s work has received broad recognition, including many paper awards (e.g., the INFORMS Applied Probability Society Best Publication Award, NIPS Best Paper Award and ACM Sigmetrics Best Paper Award), along with other recognition in the community (e.g. the Erlang prize from the INFORMS Applied Probability Society, awarded bi-annually to a young researcher who has made outstanding contributions to applied probability).

In addition, Shah has pursued commercial development of his research at MIT through the founding of Celect, which models customer buying patterns to assist retailers with inventory positioning.

Shah is also a co-leader, along with Professor Philippe Rigollet, of the new MIT Professional Education course, “Data Science: Data to Insights,” launching in October 2016.

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