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Launching Early Stage Ventures | Sandy Pentland, MIT Media Lab
How social networks make us smarter | Alex 'Sandy' Pentland | TEDxBeaconStreet

Biography

Alex `Sandy' Pentland directs MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, and advises the World Economic Forum, Nissan Motor Corporation, and a variety of start-up firms. Sandy is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, and mobile computing. He has won numerous international awards in the arts, sciences, and engineering; in 1999 he was chosen by Newsweek as one of the "100 Americans Most Likely to Shape the Next Century," in 2009 he won DARPA's 40th Anniversary of the Internet Grand Challenge, and in 2011 he was named one of the "world's seven top data scientists" by Tim O'Reilly in Forbes magazine. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, the World Economic Forum, and Harvard Business Review, as well as being the focus of TV features including Nova and Scientific American Frontiers. His most recent book is Honest Signals, published by MIT Press.

Sloan School of Management
Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
  • Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
  • Director, Human Dynamics Lab
  • Director, MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program
  • School of Architecture and Planning
  • School of Engineering

Alex Pentland Alex Sandy Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives, and is a founding member of the Advisory Boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility, Telefonica, and a variety of start-up firms. He has previously helped create and direct MIT’s Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospital’s Center for Future Health.

In 2012 Forbes named Sandy one of the seven most powerful data scientists in the world’, along with Google founders and the CTO of the United States, and in 2013 he won the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review. He is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing(Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review, as well as being the focus of TV features on BBC World, Discover and Science channels. His most recent book is Honest Signals,' published by MIT Press.

Over the years Sandy has advised more than 50 PhD students. Almost half are now tenured faculty at leading institutions, with another one-quarter leading industry research groups and a final quarter founders of their own companies.

Sandy's research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off more than 30 companies to date, three of which are publicly listed and several that serve millions of poor in Africa and South Asia. Recent spin-offs have been featured in publications such as the Economist and the New York Times, as well as winning a variety of prizes from international development organizations.

MIT Professional Education
Professor of Media Arts and Sciences

Professor Alex "Sandy" Pentland helped to create and direct the Media Lab, where he directs the Human Dynamics research group and leads the Connection Science initiative. One of the most-cited scientists in the world, Forbes recently declared him one of the "7 most powerful data scientists in the world" along with Google founders and the Chief Technical Officer of the United States. He is a founding member of advisory boards for Google, AT&T, Nissan, and the UN Secretary-General, and a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded more than a dozen companies including social enterprises such as the Data Transparency Lab, the Harvard-ODI-MIT DataPop Alliance, and the Institute for Data-Driven Design. Pentland and his students pioneered computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing (Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His most recent books are Social Physics (Penguin Press, 2014) and Honest Signals (MIT Press, 2008). He received his BS in computer science from the University of Michigan and his PhD in computer science, psychology, and AI from MIT. Pentland is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, a leader within the World Economic Forum, and has received numerous awards and prizes including the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review, the 40th Anniversary of the Internet from DARPA, and the Brandeis Award for work in privacy.

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