Research Domains

IDSS takes cross-disciplinary approaches to solving significant societal challenges across a wide range of application domains. This includes analytical research that can be used to inform policy making. Examples of current focus areas include work on combatting systemic racismclimate change, and misinformation in social media.

Some of these research domains include:

Energy Systems

IDSS is interested in the operation of energy systems, technological and institutional innovation, and understanding the environmental and broader sustainability impacts of energy consumption.


IDSS research in finance aims to address problems caused by technological advances that have made financial organizations, telecom and IT firms, and government regulatory agencies more interconnected as they manage transactions at sub-millisecond time scales and generate, store, and manage massive amounts of transaction data.

Health Care

Advances in technologies provide new opportunities to monitor and collect vast amounts of health data, including electronic medical records, wearable sensors and devices, text-based data from medical notes and online systems, insurance and payment data records, and biological and genomic data. There are many opportunities for applying new analytical methods to this data, such as improving the management of healthcare systems and using continuous patient monitoring and predictive analytics for hospitals to improve clinical decision making.

Social Networks

We now produce vast amounts of data every day, detailing our lives, preferences, friendships, and health. Social network technologies have not only dramatically changed our lives, but also promise to transform how we study social behavior and dynamics. IDSS research addresses topics such as fake news, radicalization, analysis of information flow, influence, learning, and cascades in social networks, and developing new architectures for the exchange of information, social interaction, and crowdsourcing.

Urban Systems

Future cities will be highly instrumented with sensors and devices providing an almost real-time update of its various states, including congestion, level of pollution, or availability of resources. In order to manage the complexity of such urban environments, it is inevitable that real-time control and decision be implemented. Such decisions not only regulate the infrastructure of the city, but also incentivize desired behaviors. Such an intertwined interaction between physical and technological systems, human behavior, and regulations makes the urbanization challenge an ideal problem for IDSS.

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307