Welcome to the Fall 2012 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. A quick perusal of the past few years' issues of LIDS|ALL, this new volume, and the news items that have appeared on the LIDS webpage and in MIT news releases make it clear that LIDS is not only an exciting and fulfilling place for all who call it home, but also an intellectual community whose contributions to and leadership in the broad field of information and decision systems continues to grow and to receive significant recognition both within MIT and throughout the world. We are delighted to share these glimpses into our professional home.
In this issue you will find an interview with Brian Jones, the individual who keeps all of our IT systems running and deals with the (plaintive and always urgent) questions and requests from all of us with a calm presence and speedy response. You'll also find interviews with two of our senior graduate students, Yola Katsargyri and Watcharapan Suwansantisuk, who have made important contributions to LIDS not only in their individual research but also in their service to LIDS. There is an interview with Amir Ali Ahmadi, who, until this past September, was one of our graduate students and has now joined us as a postdoctoral researcher. You'll also find interviews with two of our faculty, Prof. Jonathan How of MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Prof. Patrick Jaillet of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. And you'll hear from Prof. Anant Sahai of the University of California, Berkeley, one of our illustrious and supportive alumni.
In addition, you'll find information about honors and awards received by members of the LIDS Community including the very well deserved School of Engineering Infinite Mile Award presented to our Assistant Director for Administration, Debbie Wright. You will also find information on and photos of many of the activities during this past year including the LIDS Student Conference. I wanted to take this opportunity, as well, both to welcome Prof. Yury Polyanskiy who joined the EECS faculty and LIDS this past fall and to let you know about major initiatives spearheaded by LIDS faculty since our last issue: Prof. Emilio Frazzoli is now the Principal Investigator of the Future Urban Mobility Interdisciplinary Research Group in the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Prof. Munther Dahleh has led the formation of MIT's new Center for Systemic Risk, and Prof. Asuman Ozdaglar has been instrumental in the formation of the new Connection Sciences Virtual Center at MIT. All of these initiatives have two things in common: They deal with crucial and emerging areas in which cutting-edge research is dearly needed, and LIDS is playing a leadership role in each.
One of the important activities during this past year was the visit of our Advisory Committee, a group consisting of four very distinguished individuals: Dr. Henrique Malvar, Chief Scientist of Microsoft Research; Prof. Manfred Morari, Head of the Automatic Control Laboratory at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland; Prof. H. Vincent Poor, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University; and Prof. Pravin Varaiya, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. It is meaningful to all of us that these accomplished individuals have given their time to come and listen to and advise us. As I prepared for their visit this past April, I looked over the presentation I gave to them during their first visit three years earlier. The contrast with what I presented in April 2012 is stunning. While LIDS was strong and vibrant in 2009, the picture of LIDS in 2012 is even stronger and more dazzling. I cannot imagine working in a better or more exciting place than LIDS, and I am grateful every day that I do.
It is a privilege for me to be Director of this exceptional organization, and I believe that you will understand why I feel that way as you peruse this issue of LIDS|ALL.