Spring 2009 UMASS Amherst
Operations Research / Management Science Seminar Series

Date: Friday, April 3, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Isenberg School of Management, Room 112

Speaker: Professor Alex Pentland

Toshiba Professor of Media Arts & Science

  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

Biography: Professor Alex (“Sandy”) Pentland is a the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts & Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a B.G.S. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. Prior to joining the M.I.T. faculty, he was Senior Computer Scientist at SRI International and a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. He is a pioneer in organizational engineering, mobile information systems, and computational social science. Professor Pentland's focus is the development of human-centered technology, and the creation of ventures that take this technology into the real world.

He directs the Digital Life Consortium, a group of more than twenty multinational corporations exploring new ways to innovate, and oversees the Next Billion Network, established to support aspiring entrepreneurs in emerging markets, and the EPROM entrepreneurship program in Africa.  He is among the most-cited computer scientists in the world, and in 1997 Newsweek magazine named him one of the 100 Americans likely to shape this century.

TITLE: Honest Signals and Reality Mining
Abstract: I will describe an analysis framework and initial results for building a social physics that can be used to model and predict productivity in organizations. The framework is based on reality mining of sensor data, extracting subtle patterns that predict future behaviors. These predictive patterns seem to be biologically based honest signals, evolved from ancient primate signaling mechanisms, and we find that they are major factors in human decision making in situations ranging from job interviews to first dates. By analyzing these signals using data from mobile phones, electronic ID badges, or digital media, we can create a gods eye view of how the people in organizations interact, and even see the rhythms of interaction for everyone in a city.
This series is organized by the UMASS Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. Support for this series is provided by the Isenberg School of Management, the Department of Finance and Operations Management, INFORMS, and the John F. Smith Memorial Fund.

Dr. Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor of Operations Management in the Isenberg School of Management,  is the Faculty Advisor of the Speaker Series.