Devavrat Shah named Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

July 29, 2021

Jane Halpern | Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (original article)

Devavrat Shah has been named the new chair holder of the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, effective July 1, 2021, for a five-year renewable term. Devavrat Shah, a faculty member of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT since 2005, is a member of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Sciences (LIDS) and the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS). He was the founding director of the Statistics and Data Science Center (SDSC) at MIT from 2016 to 2020.

Shah’s research focuses on statistical inference and stochastic networks. His contributions span a variety of areas, including resource allocation in communications networks; inference and learning on graphical models; algorithms for social data processing including ranking, recommendations, and crowdsourcing; and more recently causal inference. His work spans a range of areas across electrical engineering, computer science, and operations research. 

Shah received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, where he received the Presidents of India Gold Medal, which is awarded to the best graduating student across all engineering disciplines. He received a PhD in computer science from Stanford University with the George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award from Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). In 2013, he founded the machine learning start-up Celect, Inc., which helps retailers with optimizing inventory by accurate demand forecasting. In August 2019, Celect, Inc. was acquired by Nike, Inc. In 2019, Shah founded Ikigai Labs, with the mission of building self-driving organizations by empowering data business operators to make data-driven decisions with ease of spreadsheets.

His work has received broad recognition, including the Rising Star Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group for the computer systems performance evaluation community (SIGMETRICS) and the Erlang Prize from the Applied Probability Society of INFORMS, in addition to paper prize awards, including the Best Publication Award from the Applied Probability Society of INFORMS, Best Paper Award from Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society of INFORMS, INFOCOM Best Paper Award, N(eur)IPS Best Paper Award, and the ACM SIGMETRICS Best Paper Award.  He has received the 2019 and 2020 ACM SIGMETRICS Test-of-Time Paper award, as well as the NSF CAREER Award, and he is a distinguished alumni of his alma mater IIT Bombay.

The Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi professorship was established by Dr. Andrew Viterbi, a member of the EECS Visiting Committee and pioneer in the communications field, who proposed a decoding algorithm for convolutional codes. His results are widely used and can be found in virtually every wireless standard.