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Summer 2012 Table of Contents

Hariri Institute Names First Junior Faculty Fellows

Pursuing a BU trustee’s mission of interdisciplinary research

| From Commonwealth | By Rich Barlow

The first Hariri Institute junior faculty fellows are (clockwise, from top left) Jonathan Appavoo, Ayse Coskun, Mark Kramer, Evimaria Terzi, Jason Ritt, and Benjamin Lubin.

Studying how mice use their whiskers to explore their surroundings. Hunting eventual treatments for epilepsy. Analyzing your privacy protections on Facebook. These have been the work of some of the newly named junior faculty fellows of the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Comput­ing and Computational Science & Engineering.

The fellows’ projects epitomize the institute’s mission: using computation across a range of academic disciplines to spur collaborative, pathbreaking research and training. The six junior fellows—a management scholar, two computer scientists, a mathematician, and two engineers—will serve two-year terms. The goal is to appoint junior fellows each year to maintain a roster of a dozen at any given time.

Fellows receive a stipend, use of institute facilities, and the chance to seek funding for new research projects, particularly in the institute’s targeted areas of biology and medicine, phys­ical science and engineering, social and management sciences, arts, communica­tion, and education.

The fellows are:

  • Jonathan Appavoo, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of computer science. He researches systems for large-scale on-demand computing and those that combine traditional computing with the statistical inference capabilities of the brain.
  • Ayse Coskun, a College of Engineering assis­tant professor of electrical and com­puter engineering, who researches energy efficiency and thermal challenges to computer systems, with an eye toward continued development of energy-efficient com­putational power. The institute is partially funding work by Coskun and Appavoo at the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center, in which BU is a collaborator.
  • Mark Kramer, a CAS assistant professor of mathematics and statistics. He studies mathematical neuro­science; for example, he is working with Massachusetts General Hospital researchers to apply math and com­putation techniques to improve the characterizing, and ultimately treatment, of epileptic seizures.
  • Benjamin Lubin, a School of Management assistant professor of information systems, specializing in game theory, grid computing, and e-commerce. His work includes applying game theory to optimize market rules.
  • Jason Ritt (GRS’03), an ENG assistant prof­essor of biomedical engineering. His work with mice is part of his research into how organisms use information from their environ­ments, work that relies on computation to analyze high-speed video and other data.
  • Evimaria Terzi, a CAS assistant professor of computer science. She has studied Face­book as part of her research into data mining, particularly by social networks.

BU trustee Bahaa Hariri (SMG’90) pledged $15 million to launch the institute two years ago.

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