School of Engineering

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  • Melissa Valentine

    Melissa Valentine

    Associate Professor of Management Science and Engineering

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsAs societies develop and adopt new technologies, they fundamentally change how work is organized. The intertwined relationship between technology and organizing has played out time and again, and scholars predict that new internet and data analytic technologies will spur disruptive transformations to work and organizing.

    These changes are already well-documented in the construction of new market arrangements by companies such as Upwork and TaskRabbit, which defined new categories of “gig workers.” Yet less is known about how internet and data analytic technologies are transforming the design of large, complex organizations, which confront and solve much different coordination problems than gig platform companies.

    Questions related to the structuring of work in bureaucratic organizations have been explored for over a century in the industrial engineering and organizational design fields. Some of these concepts are now so commonplace as to be taken for granted. Yet there was a time when researchers, workers, managers, and policymakers defined and constructed concepts including jobs, careers, teams, managers, or functions.

    My research program argues that some of these fundamental concepts need to be revisited in light of advances in internet and data analytic technologies, which are changing how work is divided and integrated in organizations and broader societies. I study how our prior notions of jobs, teams, departments, and bureaucracy itself are evolving in the age of crowdsourcing, algorithms, and increasing technical specialization. In particular, my research is untangling how data analytic technologies and hyper-specialization shape the division and integration of labor in complex, collaborative production efforts characteristic of organizations.

  • Benjamin Van Roy

    Benjamin Van Roy

    Professor of Electrical Engineering, of Management Science and Engineering

    BioBenjamin Van Roy is a Professor at Stanford University, where he has served on the faculty since 1998. His current research focuses on reinforcement learning. Beyond academia, he leads a DeepMind Research team in Mountain View, and has also led research programs at Unica (acquired by IBM), Enuvis (acquired by SiRF), and Morgan Stanley.

    He is a Fellow of INFORMS and IEEE and has served on the editorial boards of Machine Learning, Mathematics of Operations Research, for which he co-edited the Learning Theory Area, Operations Research, for which he edited the Financial Engineering Area, and the INFORMS Journal on Optimization. He received the SB in Computer Science and Engineering and the SM and PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, all from MIT, where his doctoral research was advised by John N. Tstitsiklis. He has been a recipient of the MIT George C. Newton Undergraduate Laboratory Project Award, the MIT Morris J. Levin Memorial Master's Thesis Award, the MIT George M. Sprowls Doctoral Dissertation Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Stanford Tau Beta Pi Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Management Science and Engineering Department's Graduate Teaching Award, and the Lanchester Prize. He was the plenary speaker at the 2019 Allerton Conference on Communications, Control, and Computing. He has held visiting positions as the Wolfgang and Helga Gaul Visiting Professor at the University of Karlsruhe, the Chin Sophonpanich Foundation Professor and the InTouch Professor at Chulalongkorn University, a Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore, and a Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.