Welcome to the Fall 2008 volume of LIDS|ALL. This issue provides windows through which we hope to give you a picture of the LIDS community – activities that make LIDS a vibrant and leading research organization, our research partners who are so crucial to extending and enriching our community, and the staff, students, and faculty who make LIDS an exciting and energizing place in which to work, learn, and create.

In this issue you’ll read about one of LIDS’ signature annual events, the LIDS Student Conference, an activity initiated and sustained by our graduate students and one that attracts many from the broader MIT community as well as distinguished speakers from around the world. You’ll also be introduced to one of our research partners, Draper Laboratory, through an interview with Dr. Eliezer Gai. Eli and many of the engineers and researchers at Draper Lab have been and remain very good friends and collaborators with many of us in LIDS, and the support of Draper for LIDS and our activities has been of exceptional value to us.

You’ll also be introduced to some of our current and past students – Kush and Lav Varshney, both of whom are currently working toward their Ph.D. degrees, Lillian Dai, who received her Ph.D. this past June, and Sommer Gentry, who received her Ph.D. several years ago – and through them get a glimpse into the extraordinary set of students who reside in LIDS, make it a far better place, and then go on to distinguished and remarkable careers.

In addition, you’ll meet Lisa Gaumond and through her see that the LIDS administrative staff is itself not only a critical component of LIDS activities but also a group of creative and interesting people who add considerably to our environment. You’ll also encounter Henk Wymeersch, a post-doctoral researcher in LIDS, who, through that position, provides an invaluable resource to both students and faculty in terms of research leadership and execution. Finally, you’ll read about one of our faculty members, Pablo Parrilo, who is recognized as one of the world-leading researchers in optimization and who brings energy, vision, and technical excellence to LIDS’ table.

It would be wrong to say simply that LIDS is enriched because of activities and people such as these. LIDS exists because of activities and people like these. Thanks to them and the others in our community, LIDS stands as a world-leading center for research in information and decision systems and all of the academic disciplines that are crucial to this broad area of inquiry. The research at LIDS continues to provide not only seminal contributions in basic research crucial to problems of national and worldwide importance but also a training ground for the next generation of leading researchers and engineers whose contributions will undoubtedly make all of us at LIDS proud and provide great service to the world.

I hope that you enjoy this window into the LIDS community, and we invite you to learn more about us through our webpage or by visiting us. You are always welcome.