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.

  • Gregory Valiant

    Gregory Valiant

    Associate Professor of Computer Science

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy primary research interests lie at the intersection of algorithms, learning, applied probability, and statistics. I am particularly interested in understanding the algorithmic and information theoretic possibilities and limitations for many fundamental information extraction tasks that underly real-world machine learning and data-centric applications.

  • William R. Van Dalsem

    William R. Van Dalsem

    Adjunct Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering

    BioBill recently completed 40+ years at NASA. Bill's goal is to help the next generation of engineers address the complex challenges facing society, such as climate change, and the resulting critical needs to achieve greener energy and transportation and reduce the impact of wildfires and droughts.

    He graduated from Stanford with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (with a minor in Aeronautics and Astronautics) in 1984, as well as a Master's in Mechanical Engineering in 1981. Bill received his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara where his capstone project was an operational diffuser augmented wind turbine. Bill was a University of California Regent Scholar.

    At NASA, Bill began as a research scientist in computational fluid dynamics, eventually providing leadership to organizations that provided aerodynamic support to activities ranging from the Space Shuttle to V/STOL aircraft. Bill led NASA-wide programs which brought high-performance computing to bear on Earth sciences, multi-disciplinary physics to aerospace design, and explored the application of nano and quantum technologies to NASA missions. Bill led NASA Ames' Intelligent Systems Division, which provided critical software to NASA's Earth-like planet detecting Kepler mission, two missions to the Moon, and many innovative small spacecraft missions. Bill spent seven years as a senior systems engineer in the NASA Ames Office of the Chief Engineer. Bill served as the Deputy Director and Chief Strategy Officer of the NASA Ames Aeronautics Directorate, when among his other duties he envisioned a Data & Reasoning Fabric to enable autonomous aircraft to provide critical services in complex environments. In 2020, Bill received NASA's highest recognition, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

    Bill is learning about exciting new challenges and creative student solutions from his participation in the Stanford Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Program. In return, he is trying to provide some lessons learned from working some of NASA's most exciting and challenging missions.

    Stanford Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Program: