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Research Associate Shin-Kyu Yang's Death A Suicide

By Beckett W. Sterner

MIT research associate Shin-Kyu Yang, 44, PhD ’99 committed suicide on July 10.

Yang, a researcher in the MIT Center for E-Business, received masters and doctorate degrees from the Sloan School of Management, and was an assistant professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business prior to his return to MIT.

Yang was a “rigorous researcher” who brought “a really deep skill with mathematics” to his work, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Center for E-Business and professor at MIT.

Brynjolfsson said Yang was “a very funny, outgoing guy” when he was a student at MIT. Yang’s thesis on how organizations benefit from information technology investment “might be one of the best master’s theses ever written,” Brynjolfsson said.

Yang developed new ways to measure the economic value of IT investments and “documented the importance of organizational changes” in achieving maximum returns, Brynjolfsson said. In a paper he and Yang published in 1997, they find that “an increase of one dollar in the quantity of computer capital installed by a firm is associated with an increase of up to ten dollars in the financial markets’ valuation of the firm.”

Yang is survived by a wife and son who live in New York, and a service was held in July.

The item in the Police Log from the Aug. 3 issue of The Tech apparently concerning a suicide on July 10 at Eastgate was in fact an assist by the MIT Police related to Yang’s death. Yang was a former resident of Eastgate, and MIT Police Captain David Carlson said that officers were doing a follow-up at the dormitory for the Cambridge Police.