It is a privilege to introduce the latest edition of LIDS|All. I began my tenure as LIDS Director in April 2017, and on this occasion I would like to express my gratitude to my immediate predecessors: Asu Ozdaglar (the previous LIDS Director), Pablo Parillo (the previous Associate Director), and Munther Dahleh (the Interim Director, after Asu was appointed to the important role of EECS Associate Department Head, and also the LIDS Director before Asu), as well as the long list of distinguished directors before them who shaped LIDS over the years, including my own advisor, Mike Athans. I am thankful to them, as well as to our outstanding staff, for preserving and enhancing the vibrancy of LIDS on both the intellectual and the operational fronts. Today, LIDS is as strong as ever.

By MIT standards, LIDS is a small lab, yet it is recognized for novel contributions to fundamental problems that lie at the core of many recent advances, from data science to autonomous systems. Our mission is to cultivate this intellectual “sweet spot,” by combining world-class methodological research with notable real-world impact. Our world-class research continues to attract tremendous talent, such as Philippe Rigollet, who joined LIDS as a principal investigator this year. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Philippe, who you can read more about in this issue.

Eytan Modiano, who I am thrilled to announce has accepted the role of LIDS Associate Director, and I, look forward to contributing to the mission and success of the lab. Some of our more immediate goals are to carry out a comprehensive review and strategic planning exercise for the lab, to bring in more new faculty and staff, and to continue strengthening and highlighting our research presence in our core disciplines and their applications. In addition, by taking advantage of interactions and initiatives enabled by being part of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), we expect the reach and the impact of the lab’s activities to only become broader.

Ultimately, LIDS is a community of people who share a common outlook. Nothing makes us more proud than seeing our graduates succeed, be it in industry or academia, as showcased by David Tse, the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Shannon Award, and whose interview is featured in this issue. You will also find interviews with graduate students Ian Schneider and Christina Lee, whose work in renewable energy and network science, respectively, represents the combination of fundamental research and challenging applications that is the hallmark of LIDS. In addition, you will read about one of our newest staff members, Jin Gao; the impressive work in artificial intelligence being carried out by Principal Research Scientist Kalyan Veeramachaneni and his group; and Prof. Caroline Uhler’s wide-reaching research on graphical models.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this issue, and getting a glimpse of the activities and the people that make LIDS the exceptional place it is today.

John Tsitsiklis, Director
Clarence J. Lebel Professor of Electrical Engineering