Who Are We?

And what is Diakronos all about?

Diakronos
The Tradespace

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The Diakronos logo, a clock face with an arrow wrapping around and through the center

Diakronos was founded in 2020 with one main goal: to take decades of research in value-focused decision making and tradespace exploration, transition it out of the “ivory tower” of academia, and bring it into the real world where it can make a difference.

The original Diakronos team is made up of former members of the MIT Systems Engineering Advancement Research Initiative (SEAri): a multi-disciplinary research group dedicated to innovating analysis methodologies and techniques needed to solve complex technical problems. Their research was motivated by seeing questionable approaches being used daily, in both government and industry, to make massively impactful decisions: dodgy math, personality-driven, and often anchored by the status quo. 20+ years later, that research had been applied and matured to the point that it was ready for prime-time — able to help not only engineers and MBAs but also anyone needing to make an important decision in their life, such as buying a car.

There was only one last hurdle: lowering the barrier to entry. SEAri had trained dozens of students in their techniques, many of whom went on to apply them with prodigious success in their respective organizations. But spending a few years getting a graduate education is a luxury that few can afford, and the diffusion of these ideas into the world at large was a slow drip. Enter Diakronos and their mission to bring tradespace exploration to the people via the combination of:

  • Accessible and approachable education resources
  • Tradespace exploration software that handles the busy work, leaving you free to concentrate on the decision itself
  • Expert consulting and support for your hardest problems

We hope you’ll follow us on this journey as we begin to release these materials and improve the way the world makes decisions!

Meet the Team

Adam Ross

A headshot of Adam Ross

In the late 1990s, Adam was a commercial space exploration enthusiast, which drove him to get degrees in physics, astrophysics, aerospace engineering, technology, management, and policy. During his formal education, he became enthralled by complexities at the intersection of humans and technology, especially as related to making decisions with lasting consequences. After receiving his PhD in 2006, he cofounded the MIT SEAri group with Dr. Donna Rhodes, merging active research on systems engineering, value-based management, and computationally driven concurrent engineering methods. During his time leading research at MIT, he found that people thoroughly enjoyed interactive tradespace exploration, effectively turning decision making into a game both educational and fun. His passion to make SEAri research accessible and fun is what led him to found Diakronos in 2020. In everything he does, Adam actively ignores disciplinary boundaries and looks to maximize human creativity and potential by using collaborative technology. Outside of computer time, Adam enjoys hiking, spending time with his family, looking at the stars, and getting lost in epic fiction.

Matt Fitzgerald

Matt Fitzgerald, wearing ear protection and working in a lab

Matt first joined SEAri as an MIT undergraduate in 2009 and stayed on all the way through his “triple beaver” with a Masters in 2012 and a PhD in 2016. His work is driven by a passion for tools both conceptual and literal — anything that offers the potential to change the way that people think about and solve problems. Previously this has come in the form of extending tradespace exploration with new analysis methods, metrics, and visualizations for decisions with an extra wrinkle of difficulty, e.g., flexible/changeable alternatives or supporting active negotiation between stakeholders with conflicting interests. Now his emphasis is on sanding down the rough edges of practical implementation: faster algorithms, more intuitive interfaces, and other means of letting computers do the boring stuff while allowing humans to be creative and feel more in control of their decisions. When he’s not pounding the keyboard for Diakronos or The Tradespace, you can catch Matt devouring cinema, teaching his (not that) old dog new tricks, or lurking near the fringes of the sabermetrics community.

Mike Schaffner

A headshot of Mike Schaffner

Mike joined SEAri in 2012 while pursuing his AeroAstro Master’s degree at MIT. After graduating in 2014, he joined Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, where he initially worked with other systems engineers on early-lifecycle design of multi-platform space-based sensor ground stations. He was then brought into a large research science org to help found a systems engineering group tasked with modeling, simulation, and analysis while directing cross-department operations of the world’s largest laboratory radiation source (the Z Machine). In a highly collaborative environment, he successfully led hundreds of Z “shots” while modeling operations, developing real-time software and hardware to inform analytics and simulation models, generating novel metrics for deep at-a-glance insights, and exploring alternate concepts of operations and future potential improvements. He re-joined his SEAri colleagues in 2019 with a renewed excitement to bring practical tradespace exploration to the masses through the development of uniquely powerful software tools. His two young boys take up any available free time he would otherwise have outside of work, a state he finds most agreeable.

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Diakronos
The Tradespace

Diakronos is looking to take 20+ years of cutting edge research and put it in the hands of people around the world.