Input on Formation of New Entity at MIT

May 15, 2014

Dear MIT faculty, students and staff:

I am writing to seek your input on the formation of a new entity at MIT that will focus on complex and socio-technical systems, information and decision systems, and statistics. The proposed organization would incorporate many of the people and programs of the Engineering Systems Division, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, a significant new initiative in statistics, and potentially other programs and entities.

The recommendation to form this new entity is the result of deliberations of four faculty committees led by Professors Munther Dahleh and Karen Willcox (Mission), Professors Emery Brown and David Gamarnik (Statistics), Professors Anantha Chandrakasan and Alan Willsky (Organizational Structure), and Professors Thomas Magnanti and Olivier de Weck (Academic Programs). The committees included 39 faculty members from all five MIT Schools and worked under the leadership of Professor Dahleh, who is Acting Director of the Engineering Systems Division, and Director-designate for the proposed new organization. The work of these four committees built on that of three prior faculty committees: the Rivest Committee focusing on socio-technical systems, and the Willcox Committee and Sipser Committees focusing on statistics. These seven committees have engaged many people from across MIT in the last two years. However, I am seeking additional input from the MIT community to help me decide whether or not to proceed with this significant new organization.

I encourage you to review the cover letter, executive summary, and reports of the four recent faculty committees which may be found here. You may also wish to review the recommendations of the prior committees, which are included in the report. I ask that you provide me feedback by June 9, 2014 by sending an email to I look forward to receiving your input.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to Professor Dahleh, the other co-chairs, and all of the faculty members who were involved in developing these recommendations. Their thoughtful and creative consideration of many complex challenges and opportunities, which has led to a strong recommendation for a new organization to advance MIT's position in these critically important areas, is a wonderful example of the collective and collaborative strengths of the MIT faculty.


Martin A. Schmidt