Alex Pentland of MIT Media Lab to discuss resources in big data that will transform future of policy and planning

August 15, 2019

Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, co-creator of the MIT Media Lab, founder of the MIT Connection Science and Human Dynamics Labs, and director of the Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program at MIT will discuss “Big Data and Social Physics: Big Changes Coming for Planning and Policy” at the Bloustein School on Monday, September 16.

The event will be held at the Bloustein School’s Civic Square Building, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. It will begin at 5:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. To register for the event, visit

Big data is about finding connections––connections with the people around you, and connections between people’s behavior and outcomes. Understanding these connections between people is the core to making transportation systems work well, making energy grids work efficiently, making financial systems stable, and making future social systems safe. The challenge is how to analyze these connections and develop new ways of building safe, inclusive, and effective systems based on understanding these connections.

In this discussion, Dr. Pentland will discuss new resources becoming available that––together with advances in computational social science––will transform planning and policy decisions for the future.

Dr. Pentland’s work focuses on using “big data” and advanced analytics to understand human behavior at scales from individual to countries. One of the most-cited authors in the computational sciences and a member of the U.S. National Academies, he is also influential in national policy and is currently advising the EU, China, the United States, and several developing countries. He is also a member of the Board of the UN Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

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