Welcome to the Fall 2010 volume of LIDS|ALL. As in past issues, we have assembled a set of interviews and news that provide a picture of the LIDS community in all of its dimensions. The 2009-2010 academic year was a particularly exciting and rewarding time for all of us in LIDS, reinforcing the position of LIDS as a vibrant and world-leading research organization that plays a important intellectual and educational role within MIT. We are delighted to share these glimpses into our professional home.
In this issue you'll be introduced to two of our current graduate students: Mitra Osqui and Ying Liu. Mitra is one of the most active students within LIDS, taking on very important responsibilities that have been of great value to all in our community. Not only was she one of the co-organizers of the past year's LIDS Student Conference, she has also established herself as LIDS' photographer in residence (this included leading a cadre of LIDS members who together provided an extensive photographic view of the very successful LIDS "Paths Ahead" Symposium). Ying has also established himself as an enthusiastic student leader in LIDS during his first two years as an EECS graduate student, taking on responsibilities in numerous areas including the LIDS Student Conference, the LIDS student organization and in the LIDS-CSAIL student-run "Machine Learning Tea" that provides a weekly forum for students and researchers in this broad area.
In addition, you'll meet one of our distinguished alumni, Professor Sanjeev Kulkarni. Sanjeev has been on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University since finishing his Ph.D. at MIT, and he remains actively involved in research with many of us.
You'll also read about Mardavij Roozbehani. After completing his Ph.D. in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT (with LIDS as his intellectual home), Mardavij joined LIDS as a postdoctoral researcher, where he is helping to spearhead efforts within LIDS in energy and smart grids.
In this issue you'll also find interviews with LIDS' two Associate Directors, Professors Munther Dahleh and John Tsitsiklis. John and Munther have been of enormous help to me – and to all in LIDS – in enhancing LIDS in many different dimensions. We all owe them our sincere thanks (and wishes that they continue for many years!). We also owe a very big thank you to Jennifer Donovan, Administrative Assistant to the Director. Many of the wonderful activities we've had at LIDS – from our Colloquium Series to our social and celebratory events to the extraordinary organization of the "Paths Ahead" Symposium (a bit more on that in a moment) owe their success to Jennifer's efforts. So, make sure to read the interview with this indispensible member of the LIDS community.
In addition, I'd like to add my word of welcome to the one provided later for Professor Patrick Jaillet, the most recent addition to LIDS' faculty. Patrick formerly served as the Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, but on stepping down from that position joined both the EECS Department and LIDS. Patrick has also taken on the responsibility of Co-Director of the Operations Research Center. Given the natural and strong ties between LIDS and ORC, this can only be another positive for the LIDS community.
There are many other accomplishments and looks into LIDS activities that you'll read about in this issue. However, one that I must mention here – because of how successful and important an event it was – is the LIDS Symposium on Paths Ahead in the Science of Information and Decision Systems. This Symposium attracted 340+ attendees and included panels of many of the most important individuals in every area of intellectual inquiry in which LIDS is involved. We continue to receive comments from attendees on how much this meeting added to the sense of a vibrant national and international intellectual community and to the role of LIDS as a catalyst and focal point for much of this intellectual energy.