Institute for Data, Systems, and Society

A collage of five images showing a bar graph, a crowd of people, a syringe drawing medicine, high voltage power lines, and a time-lapse photo of traffic moving through a city at night.

Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) is committed to addressing complex societal challenges by advancing education and research at the intersection of statistics, data science, information and decision systems, and social sciences.

The mission of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) is to:

  • advance education and research in state-of-the-art, analytical methods in information and decision systems, statistics and data science, and the social sciences.
  • address complex societal challenges in diverse areas including autonomous services, energy, environment, finance, infrastructure, and social networks, through the application of these methods.

An essential feature of these challenges are the interconnected systems and networks at the interfaces between people, technologies, and data. In recent years, technological advances in smart sensors, big data, communications, computing, social networking, and other areas are rapidly scaling the size and complexity of these systems, and at the same time generating large quantities of data. IDSS students develop an understanding of this data, and build models of these complex, interconnected systems with the objective of uncovering new insights and solutions.

IDSS embraces academic disciplines and research methods that are relevant to understanding complex systems and for presenting novel design principles and architectures, allowing these complex systems to be managed and quantified. IDSS seeks to integrate these disciplines by fostering new collaborations, introducing new paradigms, and utilizing data in new ways.

A significant IDSS-led collaboration is MIT’s new focal point for advancing research and education programs related to statistics and data science: the MIT Statistics and Data Science Center (SDSC). SDSC promotes subject offerings in statistics and data science across MIT to highlight the fundamental importance of statistics and data science to analysts and researchers in many disciplines and to increase students’ access to these subjects.

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