TEACHING AND LEARNING
Two sciences tie the knot
Designing the virtual marketplaces of the future
Economics and computer science had always been on friendly terms at MIT. With the growth of cloud computing, e-commerce, machine learning, and online social networks, their relationship grew more serious. Now that these tools and applications have become ubiquitous and gone global, economics and computer science are taking their relationship to the next level.
Starting in the fall of 2017, the two academic departments will offer a joint major — Course 6-14: Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science — because elements of the two fields have become, well, inseparable. The new major aims to prepare students to think at the nexus of economics and computer science, so they can understand and design the kinds of systems that are coming to define modern life. Think Amazon, Uber, eBay, etc.
“This area is super-hot commercially,” says David Autor, the Ford Professor of Economics and associate head of the Department of Economics. “Hiring economists has become really prominent at tech companies because they’re filling market-design positions.”