Alex Pentland

Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
Director, Human Dynamics Lab
Director, MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program
School of Architecture and Planning
School of Engineering


Alex Pentland Alex `Sandy' Pentland directs MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, and advises the World Economic Forum, Nissan Motor Corporation, and a variety of start-up firms.

Sandy is among the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and a pioneer in computational social science, organizational engineering, and mobile computing.

He has won numerous international awards in the arts, sciences, and engineering; in 1999 he was chosen by Newsweek as one of the "100 Americans Most Likely to Shape the Next Century," in 2009 he won DARPA's 40th Anniversary of the Internet Grand Challenge, and in 2011 he was named one of the "world's seven top data scientists" by Tim O'Reilly in Forbes magazine.

His research has been featured in Nature, Science, the World Economic Forum, and Harvard Business Review, as well as being the focus of TV features including Nova and Scientific American Frontiers. His most recent book is Honest Signals, published by MIT Press.

Faculty Media

  • Can Data Analysis Help Change Behaviors?

    Can scientists prove whether individual behaviors, such as eating or exercise habits, are contagious? Research from Alex 'Sandy' Pentland, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and the Director of...

  • Google Adviser Calls on Tech Giant to Create a Separate Organization for Data

    Sandy Pentland, MIT professor, talks to the Guardian about the ‘crowd-madness’ of social media and why tech giants such as Google must separate and protect users’ data

  • In Defense of Meetings

    So meetings in and of themselves are not bad. We just need to change the structure of meetings—literally and physically. First we need to change the social structure of meetings. In our...

  • Why Startups Should Steal Ideas and Hire Weirdos

    The most consistently creative and insightful people are explorers. They spend an enormous amount of time seeking out new people and different ideas, without necessarily trying very hard to find...

  • The Social Data That Business Should Use

    "Focus on how people relate to each other," says MIT's Sandy Pentland in The Wall Street Journal.

  • Big Data Society as Science

    Watch Alex "Sandy" Pentland of MIT on using data to predict—and control—human behaviour in The Economist's video.

  • Social Physics Can Change Your Company (and the World)

    Well, social physics is what happens when big data meets social science, including political science and medical science. But it's actually not new. It's over two centuries old. T

  • MIT's Alex Pentland: Measuring Idea Flows to Accelerate Innovation

    In the 1970s, when he was a student at the University of Michigan, Alex Pentland worked on a government-financed research project that used satellite imaging to study animal life on earth. The...

  • Meet the Godfather of Wearables

    It all started with beavers. When Alex Pentland was three years into his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, in 1973, he worked part-time as a computer programmer for NASA's...

  • Living Big Data

    Big data is made from the digital trail that we leave behind when we use credit cards, mobile phones, or the Web. Used carefully and accurately, these data give us unprecedented scope to understand...


Contact Information

Office: E15-387
Phone: 617-253-0648
Fax: 617-258-6264
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