Trustee’s Gift Ignites Student Entrepreneurship

BU Spark! connects technology ideas with expertise, funding

From BU Today:

BU students have a new way to get their great ideas off their hard drives and into the world.

Created with $1 million gift from the Mullen Family Foundation and based at the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, BU Spark! is a new incubator for technology-driven student entrepreneurship. The initiative will offer programs and resources to help students pursue next-stage development of projects.

[…]BU Spark! will support ventures driven by computer science, engineering, and related disciplines. Help and advice is available from several sources, including Hariri Institute programming experts, the Questrom School of Business BUzz Lab, and graphic designers from the College of Fine Arts, Cranmer says, as well as alumni with expertise to share or money to invest.

Read the full article here.

Spotlight – Sean Smith

By Christian ColeApril 3rd, 2017in Spotlight

Photo by Christian Cole
Photo by Christian Cole

Boston University Computer Science student Sean Smith (CAS/GRS’17) recently sat down with BUCS to give us a glimpse into his time at the University and how he came to be interested in computer science.

Since taking a programming class in high school, Sean has been interested in computer science. He said the ability to not only create programs, but to also impact a lot of people is what drew him to the subject. “I can monitor all the incoming requests for the website and apps that I build,” Sean said, “I see people accessing it from Bangladesh, the Philippines, and all over the world.” More

Spotlight – Anna Goncharova

By Christian ColeFebruary 15th, 2017in Spotlight

Photo by Christian Cole
Photo by Christian Cole

Boston University Computer Science student Anna Goncharova (CAS‘18) is currently a Software Engineering Intern on the Data Infrastructure Team at HubSpot in Cambridge, MA for the Spring 2017 semester. Anna is taking a leave of absence for one semester to pursue the internship. She says that one of her favorite parts about HubSpot besides working on Big Data technologies is the opportunity to collaborate with an incredibly smart and talented team. More

Tackling the Wage Gap with Code

By Christopher R DevitsJanuary 27th, 2017in Recent News

From BU Today:

Computer Science professor and Hariri Institute director Azer Bestavros at a City Hall press conference on the Boston Women’s Workforce Council wage gap report earlier this month, flanked by Katie Conboy, Simmons College provost (from left), former Lt. Governor Evelyn Murphy, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and Eddie Ahmed, MassMutual Financial Group chief human resources officer. Photo by Cydney Scott

Payroll data for 112,600 area employees reveals that women working in greater Boston make just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to a new report from the Boston Women’s Workforce Council. That calculation was made possible by researchers at BU’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, who came up with a secure way for companies to report the data anonymously. More

BU and Red Hat Forge $5 Million Partnership

By Christopher R DevitsJanuary 27th, 2017in Recent News

RedHat.svg_From BU Today:

Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source enterprise software, is joining in a five-year-long partnership with Boston University, an arrangement aimed at advancing research into emerging and translational technologies, such as cloud computing and big data platforms. The collaboration, celebrated Monday evening at a dinner at the home of Robert A. Brown, BU president, will involve researchers from both Red Hat and BU, and will provide opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to drive new ideas and new technologies.

Orran Krieger, director of BU’s Cloud Computing Initiative and the University’s lead on the partnership, says Red Hat appreciated the potential of such a research collaboration after working with BU to develop software on the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC), at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, Mass.

Krieger, who is also a College of Engineering professor of the practice of electrical and computer engineering and a Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering resident fellow, says project plans include support for two research labs, one at Red Hat’s new corporate space in Boston’s Seaport district and one on the Charles River Campus. The collaboration, to be managed by an oversight committee made up of key technical personnel at BU and Red Hat, calls for the creation of a Red Hat Incubator that will pursue exploratory research and development based on proposals solicited from across the BU and Red Hat communities. It will provide fellowships to selected PhD students in the College of Arts & Sciences computer science and ENG electrical and computer engineering departments, as well as support for full-time and part-time postdocs and visiting scientists, among them those from universities involved in MOC projects.

Click here to read the full article.

Why have we trusted our lives to zeros and ones? Prof. Goldberg featured in BU 2016 Annual Report

By Christopher R DevitsJanuary 23rd, 2017in Recent News

Professor Sharon Goldberg and her team’s research was featured in the 2016 Boston University Annual Report, looking at some of the big questions the University sought to tackle in 2016. Below is an excerpt from the article:

sharon jpegAt a cybersecurity briefing on Capitol Hill last spring hosted by Boston University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison and the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, Goldberg detailed for congressional staff members how that innocent trust among early users has led to a system now highly vulnerable to attackers. Not only can cyber outlaws eavesdrop undetected, but they can also intercept, manipulate, and change internet traffic with users none the wiser. We’re not just talking online shopping, either, but the potential for significant damage to vital global systems such as industrial control systems or utility and power systems.

At BU, Goldberg, winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, spends her waking hours figuring out ways to identify and correct those weaknesses. Recently, she and several of her students discovered a potential vulnerability in the Network Time Protocol (NTP), the software that synchronizes clocks on computers. Applications ranging from bank website encryption schemes to Bitcoin systems to website authentications could have been breached. “If NTP breaks, many other computing applications break as well,” says Goldberg.

The entire article is available here.

Electronic Mirror – Rich West part of a team designing next-generation body motion tracker

By Christopher R DevitsJanuary 19th, 2017in Recent News

CAS Computer Science Professor Rich West is highlighted in a recent BU Research article. The following is a quoted passage:

Sheryl Grace is no Bobby Orr. But growing up in northern Ohio—“a place where things froze,” she says—Grace, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Boston University College of Engineering (ENG), spent plenty of time on skates. So two years ago, when she saw her kids skating with less-than-NHL fluidity, she thought she could teach them a few things—how to get the perfect stride, how to bend the knees low for extra speed. What happened next will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been a parent, or a kid for that matter: the kids got annoyed, and Grace got exasperated.

A wearable motion tracker, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.
A wearable motion tracker, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.

But Grace also left the ice that day with inspiration: an idea for an “electronic mirror,” a wearable body motion–tracking device that could help athletes get instant, objective feedback on their technique. Now, with support from a Hariri Institute Research Award, Grace is working to make the device, called a biokinematic data acquisition system. Joining Grace on the project are Richard West, a BU College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of computer science, and Cara Lewis, an associate professor at BU’s College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College (SAR) and director of the SAR Human Adaptation Laboratory. Working together, they hope to create a system that could potentially not just improve athletes’ performances but also help rehabilitation patients learn to move without pain—and perhaps even assist people with disabilities to regain the use of weakened or paralyzed limbs.

Click here to read the full article.

CS PhD Student Wenxin Feng Wins ALS Assistive Technology Challenge

By Jacob HarringtonDecember 13th, 2016in Recent News

BU Computer Science PhD student Wenxin Feng belongs to one of two teams that won the international ALS Assistive Technology Challenge by the ALS Association and Price4Life.  The $400,000 award was given last week in a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland. 

Wenxin’s team was praised for developing “unique and innovative technologies” and having the “promising potential for offering life altering communication solutions for people living with ALS.”

With her team Dexter Ang, David Cipoletta, Julia Zhu, and Kyle Connors and their startup Pison Technology, Wenxin is creating a “motionless communication and control system for people with ALS and other neuromuscular conditions. It will allow a person with little to no movement ability to have full control of a laptop, a phone, and home robotics 24/7. The wearable sensors provide a real-time look into a person’s nervous system to help neurologists and pharmaceutical companies track electromyography (EMG) muscle strength on a daily basis. The prototype has been successfully tested on people who have no ability to move and will be used in clinical trials at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.” Wenxin is responsible for designing and implementing the interaction software.

Awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been promoted through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which went viral on Facebook in 2014, resulting in millions of donations.

Congratulations Wenxin for your wonderful achievement!

Associate Dean Stan Sclaroff named Fellow with IAPR and IEEE

By Jacob HarringtonDecember 9th, 2016in Recent News

SclaroffStanley Sclaroff, who serves as Associate Dean of the Faculty for Mathematical and Computational Sciences and Professor with the Department of Computer Science, has been named a Fellow with both the International Association of Pattern Recognition and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The IAPR is an association of non-profit, scientific, and professional organizations with a focus on pattern recognition, computer vision, and image processing. The IEEE is a leading global professional association for advancing technology in areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering.

Stan was recognized as a Fellow of the IAPR at a ceremony this week at the International Conference on Pattern Recognition in Mexico “for contributions in tracking, human gesture analysis, shape recognition, and video databases,” and Stan’s elevation to Fellow of the IEEE recognizes him “for contributions to computer vision, image retrieval, and gesture analysis.”

Congratulations Stan and thank you for your contributions to the Department of Computer Science and the College of Arts and Sciences!

Terriers at Grace Hopper

By Christopher R DevitsOctober 20th, 2016in Recent News

Students and faculty from CAS Computer Science and ENG Electrical and Computer Engineering are representing Boston University at the 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. GHC is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. It is produced by the Anita Borg Institute and presented in partnership with ACM.