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Management Science and Engineering
Spring 2022 Newsletter
In-person reunion returns autumn 2022!
MS&E will host an event for alumni on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Lectures and Q&A with faculty will be livestreamed, but topic tables and discussion afterward will be in-person only. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon!
In this issue:
 • MS&E and democracy
 • Impact on public health
 • Student research
 • Faculty & student awards and more

Explore articles, webinars, and videos in this issue of the MS&E Newsletter.
Our lead story: What are the necessary ingredients for a healthy democracy?
portrait photo of Johan Ugander next to a comic strip style illustration of two people whispering
Johan Ugander studies misinformation and how to combat it | Stanford, iStock/drante
A well-informed public...
Democracy depends on public access to information. But the proliferation of so-called "fake news" has made reliable information increasingly difficult to find.

MS&E faculty and others have studied the nature of mis- and disinformation, including how misinformation spreads faster than truth and how fake news spreads like a real virus. Only recently have scholars been able to offer science-backed solutions to the problem. New research by Prof. Johan Ugander shows how to beat fake news—without simply reducing the spread of all news.

It's a campus-wide topic of interest. Stanford News compiled a university-wide collection of research on it. And former U.S. President Barack Obama recently spoke at Stanford about regulating disinformation.
...and well-deliberated ideas
Research also suggests that mere exposure to good information might not be enough to create a thriving democracy. People can distrust even high-quality, vetted news. However, deliberation with diverse others can help them transform their thinking when information can't.

Prof. Ashish Goel, PhD student Lodewijk Gelauff, and Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy created the Stanford Online Deliberation Platform with this in mind. To prompt questions and debate, the platform requests arguments for and against proposals, prods the people who aren’t speaking, and allows participants to weigh in on whether all sides of an issue have been explored. 

Prof. Goel and Gelauff also aim to increase participation in democracy at the local level. Their work with Stanford’s Crowdsourced Democracy Team helped the city of Austin, Texas survey residents on its budget.  

While the city received a large number of responses, the demographics of participants didn’t align with those of the city’s residents. This illuminated new challenges related to equity of participation, not just equity of access.
portrait photo of Ashish Goel next to illustration of a fictional town hall building labeled "demopolis"
Ashish Goel co-developed the Stanford Open Deliberation Platform to increase equity in deliberation | Stanford, Eric Comstock
A healthy population
The health of a democracy shares importance, of course, with the health of its constituents. Below are a few  ways MS&E has recently been involved in public health: 
  • Santa Clara County, home to Stanford, has for years relied on MS&E—particularly Prof. Peter Glynn—and the Stanford Center for Professional Development to offer customized education to its staff. The county's partnership with Stanford helped Santa Clara become a national leader in COVID-19 response throughout the pandemic.

  • A Stanford-Lancet commission report, co-authored by Prof. Margaret Brandeau, traces the root  of the opioid crisis and offers in-depth solutions. At the epidemic’s current pace, opioids are expected to take 1.22 million U.S. lives this decade.

  • Artificial intelligence, when used for drug discovery, has the potential to bring novel medicines to patients more efficiently and predictably. But how do we avoid ethical pitfalls?
illustration of two people working from home next to portrait photo of Pamela Hinds
Pamela Hinds says hybrid work is here to stay | iStock/Aleutie, Stanford
For the greater good
Future of work
  • Is hybrid work here to stay? Prof. Pamela Hinds says yes, and offers tips for success in the new world of work in this webinar.

  • Prof. Hinds was among national experts featured in The Washington Post on how to reduce the pains of hybrid work. One of her tips—unstructured interactions: Schedule 10-to-15-minute check-ins without an agenda.

  • Tsedal Neely (PhD '07), professor at Harvard Business School, was also among the experts in the WaPo article above. She further discussed how to thrive in a hybrid environment on LinkedIn's Get Hired podcast.
Alumni stories & voices
Other news
James Adams
James L. Adams, 1934-2022 | Courtesy Adams Family
In the rare moments when James Adams wasn’t teaching or writing, he liked to use his spare time to repair antique farm machinery and build models. He shaped MS&E’s legacy as the chair of the Industrial Engineering department from 1975-78, and had a strong influence on Stanford’s famed Product Realization Lab. Prof. Adams passed away in January at 87.
four students pose against a sandstone wall
The Innovating Education in Reproductive Health senior project team | Courtesy Jenna Jung, Alejandra Orozco, Aishwarya Mehta, and Sahej Claire
2022 senior projects: Impact, optimized 
This year’s senior projects infused optimization problems, such as how best to take a company public, with a heavy emphasis on social impact. For example, one team defined best practices for a homeless shelter's transition from congregate to non-congregate housing. 

The participants saw the return of in-person presentations and also the first-ever alumni judges. Six alums attended the presentations and will decide the winning project, to be announced at commencement in June.
What makes success
A startup's success may seem idiosyncratic, but PhD student Carrington Motley aims to uncover common conditions under which ventures are more likely to succeed. He currently studies how both team composition and environmental factors impact a company’s success in the midst of apparent chaos.
Carrington Motley and Katherina Lix with graphics of abstract complexity and puzzle pieces
Carrington Motley (left) and Katherina Lix (right) study success from different angles | LinkedIn, eCorner, iStock/Alisa Zahoruiko
An organization’s success depends on successful teams, but what makes those teams excel? Katharina Lix (PhD '21) and collaborators including Prof. Melissa Valentine found that modulating cognitive diversity can lead to success, and the best teams think different—sometimes.
the Stanford men's gymnastics team holds the NCAA championship trophy
Brody Malone became the most decorated gymnast in Stanford history as his team won its third consecutive NCAA title | Stanford Athletics
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