Sinan Aral heads the Social Analytics and Large Scale Experimentation research programs of the Initiative on the Digital Economy. He is the David Austin Professor of Management at MIT Sloan, where he holds a joint appointment in the IT and Marketing groups. He was the Chief Scientist at SocialAmp, one of the earliest social commerce analytics companies (until its sale in 2012); and is currently the Chief Scientist at Humin, a social navigation startup developing the “Google Maps” for your social relationships. Sinan is the Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times R&D Lab and has worked closely with Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Oracle, SAP and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from social media and IT investments. His research has won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award and a Fulbright Scholarship. He was also recently named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40” by Poets & Quants. In his spare time, he cooks, skis and tell jokes about his own cooking and skiing. His most recent hobby is learning from his eleven month old son. You can find Sinan on Twitter @sinanaral.
Erik Brynjolfsson is the Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. He is also the Schussel Family Professor of Management at MIT Sloan, Chairman of MIT Sloan Management Review, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research examines the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity and performance. At MIT, he teaches courses on the Economics of Information and co-directs the Analytic Lab. He has also taught at Harvard and Stanford. Professor Brynjolfsson was among the first researchers to measure the productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. His research also quantified the value of online product variety and developed pricing and bundling models for information goods. Brynjolfsson’s research has appeared in leading economics, management, and science journals. He has been recognized with ten Best Paper awards and five patents. Along with Andrew McAfee, he wrote the best-selling book The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, as well as Race Against the Machine. Professor Brynjolfsson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University in Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences and a PhD from MIT in Managerial Economics.
Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland
Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland heads the Big Data research program of the IDE. He also directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives, and is a founding member of the Advisory Boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility, Telefonica, and a variety of start-up firms. He previously helped create and direct MIT’s Media Laboratory, the Media Lab Asia laboratories at the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Strong Hospital’s Center for Future Health. In 2012, Forbes named Professor Pentland one of the ‘seven most powerful data scientists in the world.’ In 2013 he won the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review. He is among the most- cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing (Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, and Harvard Business Review and has been the focus of multiple TV features. His most recent book is Honest Signals, published by MIT Press. Over the years Pentland has advised more than 50 PhD students. Almost half are now tenured faculty at leading institutions, with another one-quarter leading industry research groups and a final quarter founders of their own companies. Pentland’s research group and entrepreneurship program have spun off more than 30 companies to date, three of which are publicly listed and several of which serve millions of poor in Africa and South Asia.