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Soon Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology students won’t be the only ones integrating business with engineering.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science’s new Market and Social Systems Engineering program will integrate systems engineering with the study of social sciences such as economics and finance.

First available to students in fall 2011, the program will be “the first academic program of its kind anywhere,” said Joseph Sun, the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s director of academic affairs.

Jointly-directed by Computer and Information Science professor Michael Kearns and Innovation in Electrical and Systems Engineering professor Ali Jadbabaie, the program will enroll about 20 students in its first semester.

It will focus on the ways in which networking systems such as Facebook and Google work, both in terms of social and economic incentives, as well as the engineering systems behind these networks.

For example, a case study might look at the engineering system behind a model of a networking market like eBay, as well as economic incentives of using that market.

Another consideration of the program might be to look at what motivates people to update websites like Wikipedia.

“This program will offer a lot of topics and material that students can’t find at the undergraduate level at any university right now,” Kearns wrote in an e-mail.

MKSE will be “an elite program for people with the right academic background,” said Jadbabaie. The Engineering School plans to hire new faculty for the program, in addition to enlisting the resources of current faculty from the Engineering School, the School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School for its cross-disciplinary requirements.

Since 2003, Kearns has also taught a course called “Networked Life,” which engages students in explorations of the networks most of them use on a daily basis. The course will now serve as a foundational basis for the larger MKSE program.

“We expect many outstanding applicants for the limited number of MKSE program slots, and more generally across the University for MKSE classes,” said Kearns. He added that the rapid annual enrollment growth in “Networked Life” “is an early indicator of student interest.”

The program has been named after Rajendra and Neera Singh, owners of Telcom Ventures L.L.C., a private investment firm specializing in telecommunications and information technologies, who donated $ 8 million to fund the program. It is anticipated to attract “the most brilliant students in the world from all walks of life,” Singh said in a statement last week. “These are the young people who can best take this new form of education — one that combines analytical skills with intuitive thinking — and make a big difference in society.”

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