I want to start my forward by expressing my deep thanks and appreciation to Alan Willsky, who has retired, stepping down as LIDS director effective July 1, 2014. In the past 7 years, Alan has, with great energy and dedication, advanced LIDS to where it is today: a leading organization and vibrant focal point in the areas of information and decision sciences, both within and outside of MIT. But more importantly, Alan made LIDS a great home for faculty, students, post docs, principal scientists, and staff as he created an inclusive and supportive environment that fostered academic and social interactions based on mutual respect.
Having served as an Associate Director of LIDS under Alan's leadership (together with John Tsitsiklis and later replaced by Pablo Parrilo), I directly benefited from Alan's mentoring and guidance in my own career at MIT. We are indeed indebted to Alan for all the great work and wonderful service he has provided to LIDS. We are completing another exciting year at LIDS. This was particularly an important year for the Laboratory as most of our faculty, in addition to other faculty from MIT, participated in the proposal for the creation of a new Entity at MIT that focuses on solving complex societal problems. As envisioned, the new Entity would become the center of gravity in both education and research as they pertain to these complex problems by unifying the foundations in Statistics, Information and Decision Sciences, and Human and Institution Behavior. If this proposal is approved by the MIT Administration, LIDS will not only continue as the vibrant organization it is now but would also play a major leadership role in launching this new and exciting Entity, which represents a tremendous opportunity for growth for the Lab. In the meantime, I have accepted the role of interim director of LIDS until the new structure is realized. This issue of LIDS-ALL promises a great selection of profiles of LIDS students, faculty, alumni, administrators, and friends. Their stories bring out not only the wonderful experiences that they had being members of the LIDS community but also their great contributions to the Laboratory over the past many years. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading our magazine and, as always, we greatly appreciate all of the support that you have provided to LIDS. You can expect to hear more great things about LIDS and its people in the future, and we look forward to hearing from you as well.
William A. Coolidge Professor