By Azer Bestavros

Research by Hariri Fellows Cited in Argument to Reform Marketing at Harvard Business School

February 9th, 2015 in Data Science News, Institute News

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Should Harvard Business School Hit Refresh? Students, Faculty and Alumni Say School Is Behind in Tech”, Mellissa Korn and Lindsay Gellman cite the research work by Hariri Fellows Giorgos Zervas (Questrom/Marketing)  and John Byers (CAS/CS), using a data-driven approach to study the impact of the sharing economy on incumbent businesses as evidence that Harvard Business School needs to rethink its curriculum.


What should they be doing instead of what they are doing now?

“… current students and recent graduates say HBS should fold more technological awareness into its core curriculum, addressing, for example, data analytics in marketing or the impact of Airbnb Inc.’s growth on major hotel chains.”

[Read the Full Article] [Read the Paper by Hariri Fellows]

BU Cloud Computing Initiative co-sponsors 2015 IEEE Conference on Cloud Engineering

February 8th, 2015 in MOC News

The Hariri Institute’s Cloud Computing Initiative is an official co-sponsors of the 2015 IEEE Conference on Cloud Engineering. Last year, the Institute hosted the 2014 conference which was held at BU.

The IEEE International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E) conference series seeks to provide a high-quality and comprehensive forum, where researchers and practitioners can exchange information on engineering principles, enabling technologies, and practical experiences as related to cloud computing. By bringing together experts that work on different levels of the cloud stack – systems, storage, networking, platforms, databases, and applications, IC2E will offer an end-to-end view on the challenges and technologies in cloud computing, foster research that addresses the interaction between different layers of the stack, and ultimately help shape the future of cloud-transformed business and society.


Faculty Positions in Data Science

January 10th, 2015 in Data Science News

Given the rapid expansion and evident impact of Data Science, Boston University (BU) is embarking on a three-year plan to strengthen its existing base of talented faculty who conduct research in core data-science fields. Through the Provost’s Data Science Faculty Search initiative, BU will provide positions and funding to recruit six new faculty members, complementing existing and planned data-science faculty searches in various colleges and departments. This initiative is a reflection of BU’s institutional strategic plan to emphasize interdisciplinary research and scholarship in areas in which BU is uniquely excellent.

[Read More]

BU Data Science Initiative Takes Off

January 10th, 2015 in Data Science News, Institute News, MOC News, SCOPE News

Launched in the summer of 2014 by University Provost Jean Morrison, Boston University’s Data Science Initiative (DSI) seeks both to leverage BU’s existing strengths and further expand its capacity to compete and lead in the Big Data revolution.

Data is the currency of discovery and innovation in almost every scientific and professional endeavor. At BU, data scientists have long been mining mountains of data to uncover new information and transform research methodologies in diverse disciplines — from health care and business to design and communications. Now, BU is growing its capacity to evolve the technologies and methodologies of data science itself. From engineering and mathematics to politics, business and the sciences, BU researchers are breaking important ground in their fields by merging disciplines and discovering new answers through the application of data science.

At the core of DSI is an effort to recruit some of the world’s finest interdisciplinary faculty with proven track records in data science and strong potential for long-term impact at BU and beyond. Anchored at the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering and led by Computer Science Professor Azer Bestavros, the Initiative supports the hiring of a cohort of faculty members who will complement and expand BU’s footprint in data science research.

As a hub for high-impact collaborative research that applies data-driven solutions to real-world problems, the Hariri Institute is exceptionally equipped to lead the expansion of BU’s data science capacity, in coordination with cognate academic departments and research centers. The Hariri Institute provides a unique environment and a common space that encourages DSI faculty to connect, cross disciplinary lines, and pursue game-changing research outside traditional departmental settings.

[Read More]

Hariri “Storytelling with Data” Event Draws Crowds and Attention

November 1st, 2014 in Data Science News, Institute News

ComputerWorld Editor, Sharon Machlis, commented on the Hariri Institute “Storytelling with Data” talk by Albert Grimes, CIO at the Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance, in which he discussed how his office handles the flood of political contribution data that comes in shortly before Election Day. The event attracted a large and diverse audience from the College of Communication, the Law School, the Political Science Department, the CS and ECE Departments, among many others.

[Read the ComputerWorld Note]

Rewards and Risks of Big Data for Smart Cities

October 1st, 2014 in BU News, Data Science News, SCOPE News, Significant Bits

USS.Open City.Panelists

The inaugural BU Initiative on Cities (IoC) Urban Seminar, The Open City, examined a key question facing urban communities: How can cities take the massive influx of raw data, turn it into knowledge, and turn that knowledge into a better city?

Speakers from Boston University, Northeastern University and the City of Boston, explored the ways in which big data can be leveraged to improve the very communities from which it originates. Sucharita Gopal (Professor of Earth & Environment, BU),  Nigel Jacob (Executive in Residence at Boston University; Co-Founder, New Urban Mechanics), and Dan O’Brien (Director of Research at the Boston Area Research Initiative and Assistant Professor at Northeastern), participated in a moderated discussion led by Seminar Co-Chair Nathan Philips.

[Read More: “Why”, “How”, and “Lessons Learned” from the IoC]


BU Receives NSF Funding to Develop “Smart City” Cloud Platform (Press Release)

September 23rd, 2014 in Institute News, MOC News, SCOPE News

Boston University Receives National Science Foundation Funding to Develop “Smart City” Cloud Platform

in News Releases
September 23rd, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2014

CONTACT:    Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240 or

(Boston) – Boston University’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering today announced it has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a “smart-city” cloud platform designed to streamline and strengthen multiple municipal functions. Called SCOPE: A Smart-city Cloud-based Open Platform & Eco-system, the project is designed to improve transportation, energy, public safety, asset management, and social services in the City of Boston and across Massachusetts.

“Today’s cities are increasingly being challenged – to respond to diverse needs of their citizens, to prepare for major environmental changes, to improve urban quality of life, and to foster economic development,” says Azer Bestavros, Director of the Hariri Institute and SCOPE’s principal investigator.  “So called ‘smart cities’ are closing these gaps through the use of technology to connect people with resources, to guide changes in collective behavior, and to foster innovation and economic growth.”

Spearheaded by the Hariri Institute, SCOPE is led by a multi-disciplinary team of investigators from the BU Departments of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Earth and Environment, Strategy and Innovation, and City Planning & Urban Affairs, and the Office of Technology Development. Industry partners include Schneider Electric, International Data Corporation (IDC), Integrated Technical Systems, Inc., Connected Bits, and CrowdComfort. Public partners are MassIT, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ lead state agency for technology led by the Commonwealth CIO, the MassTech Collaborative, the City of Boston, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In collaboration with these stakeholders, SCOPE investigators will develop and implement smart-city services that aim to improve the quality of urban life. For example, transportation and mobility services to reduce traffic congestion, save time and fuel, and reduce pollution; energy and environmental services that will monitor and estimate greenhouse gas emissions; public safety and security services for big-data-driven dispatch of police and traffic details, snow removal, coordinated public works scheduling, and municipal repairs; tools to manage city assets by mining large amounts of data and crowd-sourced coordination of asset use; and social, institutional and behavioral tools that will enable the adoption of new services, such as incentive programs and community report cards that promote transparency and sustainability.

Once developed, these services will be offered through the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC), a new public cloud designed and implemented through the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) and supported by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

“The SCOPE project highlights the collaborative efforts between the state, industry and academia that help make Massachusetts the leading innovation state,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Through our Massachusetts Big Data Initiative, we’ve made open government a priority, opening data sets across multiple state agencies, improving access by researchers and the public.”

Adding further, “the project complements our ongoing efforts in state government to use data to continually increase transparency and drive constituent engagement,” said Commonwealth CIO Bill Oates. “I am excited about our partnership with the SCOPE team and look forward to the opportunities the Mass Open Cloud will create for leveraging public sector data in new ways. This important work will open doors for ongoing innovation in the delivery of services to constituents.”

“Partnerships between academics and practitioners can be the source of great innovation,” said Nigel Jacob and Chris Osgood, Co-Chairs of Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. “This particular grant can strengthen the City’s collaboration with Boston University; we are looking forward to see how, together, we can tackle some long-standing challenges in new ways.”

SCOPE will leverage already existing Boston University projects, including the use of sensor networking for traffic light control applications (by co-PI Christos Cassandras), fusing data from multiple sources for route planning and public works scheduling (by co-PI Evimaria Terzi), and environmental monitoring of carbon emissions in urban settings (by co-PI Lucy Hutyra). This also includes the Open Cloud eXchange (OCX), SCOPE’s enabling technology, a plug-and-play architecture that is the basis for the MOC. “OCX allows many partners, not just a single provider, to compete and cooperate on the same cloud infrastructure, effectively creating a multi-sided cloud marketplace in which innovation can flourish in support of new applications that are currently under-served by prevailing public cloud operators,” says Bestavros.

“No single company can accomplish a smart city on their own – we need to approach this opportunity collaboratively – with city government as leader, citizens at the center, technology as an enabler, and private sector partners to help make the vision a reality,” said Laurent Vernerey, President and CEO, North America Operations, Schneider Electric. “We see the SCOPE project as an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how these stakeholders can work together to develop innovative services intended to deliver substantial value to the people who live and work in the City of Boston and Massachusetts.”

“The SCOPE project will provide invaluable lessons on how to deploy a cloud-based smart city system that will help inform investment direction, policy decisions and the development of new services,” said Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, Smart City Research Director at IDC. “The potential for replication of the SCOPE model has significant ramifications for all cities and states and IDC is pleased to continue its smart city market research to support institutions like Boston University, municipalities and state government, and the vendors that serve them.”

SCOPE is a National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation (NSF PFI) project supported by over $1 million in funding from the NSF and its industry partners. For more information, visit

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research.  With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.  BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission.  In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

Boston University Secures $10M Frontier Award on Cloud Security

July 31st, 2014 in BU News, Institute News, MOC News


The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program announced a $10 million  Frontier award to Boston University’s Modular Approach to Cloud Security (MACS) project. MACS is one of  two new center-scale “Frontier” awards to support large, multi-institution projects that address grand challenges in cybersecurity science and engineering with the potential for broad economic and scientific impact.

Led by Ran Canetti (Professor of Computer Science and Director of The Center for Reliable Information Systems and Cyber Security at the Hariri Institute), the research team is comprised of experts in different aspects of information security and cryptography. The research is highly collaborative and pools together key areas of expertise in order to provide overall security guarantees. A key component of the project is the Massachusetts Open Cloud, which provides the research team with a test-bed for deploying and testing the developed mechanisms in a production cloud.

The goal of the MACS project is to develop methods for building information systems with meaningful multi-layered security guarantees. Arguably, reasoning about all the security aspects of systems “in one blow” is not feasible. The approach we take is thus modular: We aim at systems that are built from smaller and separable functional components, where the security of each component is asserted individually, and where security of the system as a whole can be derived from the security of its components.

Read the NSF Press Release.

Read the BU Today Article.

Visit the MACS Project Description for more details.


Boston Globe Cites Goldberg’s Work on Possible NSA Privacy Exploit

July 10th, 2014 in Significant Bits

The Boston Globe has a front page article in the Business section citing Sharon Goldberg’s work exposing a loophole that could be exploited by NSA to monitor electronic communication by US citizens.

A report from researchers at Harvard University and Boston University warns that the National Security Agency could freely monitor the electronic communications of American citizens by rerouting Internet traffic through overseas networks.

[Read the article]

Taulbee Survey Highlights Computer Science Growth Spurt in Academe

May 13th, 2014 in Significant Bits

The 2013 Taulbee Survey published by the Computing Research Association reported the second consecutive year of record doctoral degree production in Computer Science, continued strengthening of undergraduate Computer Science enrollments, and significant investments in Computer Science footprint on campuses across the US and Canada.

[Read the Report]