Prof. Alex Paul Pentland
Toshiba Professor of Media, Arts, and Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Alex “ Sandy ” Pentland is a pioneer in computational social science, big data, privacy, and wearable computing. He directs the MIT Human Dynamics Lab and the Connection Science program, developing computational social science based on big data, and using this new science to guide organizational engineering.  He also directs the Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, spinning off companies to bring MIT technologies into the real world.    He is among the most-cited computer scientists in the world.

Selected Spin-off Companies

Selected Spin-off Companies
Thasos Group
Sense Networks
Cogito Health
UnTravel Media
United Villages (merged with
InnerScope (sold to Nielson) (sold to
Virage (merged with Autonomy AUTNF.PK)
Vivo (merged with RealNetworks NYNEX:RNWK)
Viisage (now NYSE:ID)

Institutions Founded or Co-Founded
Data Pop Alliance
Digital Transparency Lab
Institute for Data Driven Design
Connection Science, MIT
Internet Trust Consortium, MIT
Human Dynamics Lab, MIT
MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program
Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, MIT
Center for Future Health, University of Rochester Strong Hospital
Media Lab Asia, New Delhi
IEEE Autonomous Mental Development TC
IEEE Wearable Information Systems TC
IEEE Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition

Advisory Board Membership
AT&T Data Board
Telefonica Disruptive Board
Google Advanced Technology
United Nations Secretary General
World Economic Forum
Monument Capital
Minerva Schools

Recent Awards Received
Brandeis Award for Privacy 2015
Best Business Book, Innovation, 2014
US National Academy of Engineering, 2014
Laurie Young Global Prize for Thought Leadership, 2d place, 2014
10 Technologies That Will Change The World, 2013
McKinsey Award Harvard Business Review, 2012
World’s Most Powerful Data Scientists, 2011
DARPA 40th Anniversary of the Internet Grand Challenge, 2009
Harvard Business Review Breakthrough Idea 2009
Best Paper Award, Int’l Conference on Information Systems, Mining Face-to-Face Networks [for] Productivity 2008
Reality Mining: 10 Technologies That Will Change The Way We Live, Technology Review 2008
Carlos Ghosn Award for Automotive Design 2008
Future Health Technology Award, for `Honest Signals’ Health Assessments 2008
Idea of the Year, USA Today, for `Memory Glasses’ 2006
Ars Electronica’s `Digital Communities’ Award, 2004
Most Visionary Technology, MIT Enterprise Forum, 2003
The Tech Museum Award for Equality, LINCOS Project, 2001
Alcatel Science and Technology Award, LINCOS (Little Intelligent Communities), 2001
Jean Pierre Devijver Prize for Best Paper, Intl. Asso. Pattern Recognition, 2001
Senior Fellow, Design Futures Council, 2000
Most Influential Paper of Decade Award, Intl. Asso. Pattern Recognition, 2000
The Century Club (100 people to watch in the next century), Newsweek, 1997
Best Paper Prize, Institute of Elec. and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 1991
Best Paper Prize, American Asso. Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 1984

University of Michigan, B.G.S. June 1976
M.I.T., Ph.D., June 1982
Professional Experience:
M.I.T., Media Arts and Sciences, Civil and Environmental Eng., Sloan School of Business, 1987-present
University of Rochester, Electrical Engineering, Center for Future Health, 1998-2001
Fairchild AI Center, Senior Computer Scientist, 1984-1985
Stanford University, Industrial Lecturer, 1983-1987
Stanford University, Visiting Professor, 1982-1983
SRI International, AI Center, Senior Computer Scientist, 1982 -1987

Selected Recent Scientific Publications

  • Pentland, A., (2014) Social Physics: How Ideas Turn Into Actions, Penguin Press, NY, NY
  • Pentland, A.,  `Society's Nervous System: Building Effective Government, Energy, and Public Health Systems.’ IEEE Computer, January OUTLOOK issue, pp. 39-46 (2012)
  • Aharony, N., Pan, W., Khayal, I., Moturu, S., Pentland, A., `Social fMRI: Investigating and Shaping Social Mechanisms in the Real World.’  Pervasive and Mobile Computing 7  pp. 643–659 (2011)
  • Pickard, G., Pan, W., Rahwan, I., Cebrian, M.,Crane, R., Madan, A., Pentland, A., `Time-Critical Social Mobilization.’ Science 28: Vol. 334 no. 6055 pp. 509-512, (2011)
  • Pentland, A., (2010) To Signal Is Human, American Scientist, Vol. 98, pp. 204-210
    AW Woolley, CF Chabris, A Pentland, N Hashmi, TW Malone (2010) Evidence for a collective intelligence factor in the performance of human groupsScience 330 (6004), 686-688
  • Eagle, N., Pentland, A., and Lazer, D. (2009), "Inferring Social Network Structure using Mobile Phone Data", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) doi:10.1073_pnas.0900282106
  • Pentland, A., (2008) Honest Signals: how they shape our world, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
  • Wu, L., Waber, B., Aral, S., Brynjolfsson, E., and Pentland, A. (2008) Mining Face-to-Face Interaction Networks using Sociometric Badges: Predicting Productivity in an IT Configuration Task , Proc. Int’l Conf on Information Systems. Paris, France. December 14-17 2008.
  • Pentland, A., (2007) Automatic Mapping of Human Networks, Physica A doi:10.1016 j.physa.2006.11.046  
  • Eagle, N., and Pentland, A., (2005) Social Serendipity: Mobilizing Social Software, IEEE Pervasive, Vo. 4, No. 2, pp. 28-34
  • Pentland, A., (2005) Socially Aware Computation and Communication, IEEE Computer, March 2005, pp. 63-70
  • Pentland, A., Choudhury, T., Eagle, N., and Singh, P. (2004), Human Dynamics: Computation for Organizations, Pattern Recognition Letters, Vol 26, No. 4, pp. 503-511
  • Pentland, A., (2004) Learning Communities: Understanding Information Flow in Human Networks, BT Technology Journal, Oct. 2004 Vol 22, No. 4, pp. 62-70
  • Pentland, A., (2004) HealthWear: Medical Technology Becomes Wearable (2004) IEEE Computer,
    May, 2004, 37(5), pp. 42-49
  • Pentland, A., Hassan, A., and Fletcher, R., (2004) DakNet: Rethinking Connectivity in Developing Nations, IEEE Computer, Jan, 2004 37(1), pp. 4-9
  • Kumar VS, Wentzell KJ, Mikkelsen T, Pentland A, Laffel LM. (2004) The DAILY (Daily Automated Intensive Log for Youth) Trial: A Wireless, Portable System to Improve Adherence and Glycemic Control in Youth with Diabetes. Diabetes Technol. Ther. 2004 Aug;6(4):445-53.
  • Roy, D., and Pentland, A., (2002) Learning words from sights and sounds: A computational model, Cognitive Science, 26 113-146.
  • Weng, J., McClelland, J., Pentland, A., Sporns, O., Stockman, I., Sur, M., Thelen, E.,  (2001) Automonous Mental Development by Robots and Animals,  Science, V291 No. 5504, Jan 26, 2001
  • Moghaddam, B., Nastar, C., and Pentland, A., (2001) A Bayesian Similarity Measure for Deformable Matching, Image and Vision Computing, 19(5) pp. 235-244 April 2001
  • Tan, H., and Pentland, A., (2001) A Sensing Chair using Pressure Distribution Sensors,
    IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatronics, Sept. 2001
  • Pentland, A., (2000) Looking at People: Sensing for Ubiquitous and Wearable Computing
    IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 22(1), pp. 107-119, Jan. 2000.
  • Oliver, N., Rosario, B., and Pentland, A., (2000) A Bayesian Computer Vision System for Modeling Human Interaction, IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 22(8), pp. 831-843
  • Sparacino, F., Davenport, G., and Pentland, A., (2000) Media in Performance: Interactive Spaces for Dance, Theatre, Circus, and Museum Exhibits, IBM Systems Journal, 39(3) Fall 2000
  • Pentland, Alex (2000), Perceptual intelligence, Communications of the ACM, 43(3) pp. 35-44
  • Pentland, A., and Liu, A., (1999) Modeling and Prediction of Human Behavior, Neural Computation, 11(1), pp. 229-242,  Jan 1999
  • Jebara, T., Azarbayejani, A., and Pentland, A., (1999) 3D Structure from 2D Motion, IEEE Signal Processing, 16(3) pp. 66-84 May 1999
  • Starner, T., and Pentland, A., (1998) Real-Time American Sign Language Recognition from Video Using Hidden Markov Models, IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Vision,   Nov. 1998.
  • Pentland, A., (1997) Content-Based Indexing of Images and Video, The Royal Society Philosophical Transactions on Biological Sciences, Vol. 352, pp. 1283-1290.
  • Maes, P., Blumburg, B., Darrell, T., and Pentland, A. (1997) The ALIVE System: Wireless, Full-body Interaction with Autonomous Agents, in ACM Multimedia Systems, Special Issue on Multimedia and Multisensory Virtual Worlds, ACM Press, Volume 5, Issue 3, (summer 1997).
  • Moghaddam, B., Pentland, A., (1997), Probabalistic Visual Learning for Object Representation,
    IEEE Trans. Pattern Analysis and Machine Vision, Vol. 19, No. 7, pp. 696-710.
  • Essa, I., Pentland, A., (1997), Coding, Analysis, Interpretation and Recognition of Facial Expressions, IEEE Trans. Pattern Analysis and Machine Vision}, Vol. 19, No. 7, pp. 757-763
  • Starner, T., Mann, S., Rhodes, B., Levine, J., Healey, J., Kirsch, D., Picard, R., and Pentland, A., (1996) Augmented Reality Through Wearable Computing, Presence, Teleoperators and Virtual Environments (M.I.T. Press), special issue on augmented reality, Vol 5, No 2, pp. 163-172.
  • Pentland, A. (1996) Smart Rooms, Smart Clothes, Scientific American, Vol. 274, No. 4, pp. 68-76, April 1996.
  • Pentland, A., Picard, R., Sclaroff, S. (1996) Photobook: Tools for Content-Based Manipulation of Image Databases, in In'tl Journal of Computer Vision, Vol. 18, No. 3.,pp. 233-254
  • Azarbayejani, A. and Pentland, A. (1995) Recursive Estimation of Motion, Structure and Focal Length,  in IEEE Tran. Pattern Analysis and Machine Vision, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp. 545-561
  • Pentland, A., (1994) Interpolation using Wavelet Bases, IEEE Trans. Pattern Analysis and Machine Vision, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 410-414.
  • Turk, M., and Pentland, A., (1991) Eigenfaces for Recognition, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 71-86.
  • Pentland, A., (1984)  Fractal-Based Description Of Natural Scenes, IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Recognition, Nov. 1984, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp 661-674.