Alex 'Sandy' Pentland

City Science Network, Ethics, Human Dynamics
  • Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
  • Toshiba Professor
  • Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program Director

Alex "Sandy" Pentland helped to create and direct the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Human Dynamics research group and leads the Connection Science initiative.

Pentland is one of the most-cited computational scientists in the world. In 2012, Forbes declared him one of “the world’s 7 most powerful data scientists," along with the founder of Google and the Chief Technical Officer of the US Department of Health and Human Services. A founding member of advisory boards for Google, AT&T, Nissan, and the UN Secretary General, Pentland is also a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded more than a dozen companies, including social enterprises such as the Data Transparency Lab, the Harvard-ODI-MIT DataPop Alliance, and the Institute for Data-Driven Design.

At the Media Lab, Pentland and his students have pioneered computational social science, organizational engineering, wearable computing (Google Glass), image understanding, and modern biometrics. His most recent books are Social Physics (Penguin Press, 2014) and Honest Signals (MIT Press, 2008). He received his BS in computer science from the University of Michigan, and his PhD in computer science, psychology, and AI from MIT.

Pentland is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a leader within the World Economic Forum. He has received numerous awards and prizes, including the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review, the Brandeis Award for work in health information privacy, and first place in the DARPA Network Challenge that marked the 40th anniversary of the internet.