Like other universities with major research facilities, MIT has been forging tighter relationships with corporate sponsors who, in turn, are asking for less pure research and more development. While Negroponte was a charismatic scientist, Moss, who founded and managed a string of high tech firms, is grounded in the nitty-gritty of high-tech business.
Negroponte and another key director at the lab, Walter Bender, are moving to One Laptop per Child, a nonprofit organization that's developing a $100 laptop to foster access to computing in developing nations.
Moss holds a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT. He was chief executive and president of Tivoli Systems, which was acquired by IBM in 1996. He later co-founded Internet services firm Bowstreet, which was recently acquired by IBM.
In announcing the management changes at the Media Lab, MIT president Susan Hockfield said of Moss: "His interests in the computer and life sciences and in technological enhancement of human capability align beautifully with the lab's vision, and with MIT's distinctive cross-disciplinary collaborations, which embrace not only science and engineering but also humanities and the arts."