Category: BU News

Mark Crovella named Boston University 2014 Innovator of the Year

July 16th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News

Mark Crovella, Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science and member of the Hariri Institute Executive Steering Committee was given the Boston University 2014 Innovator of the Year award.

“Professor Crovella is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose inventions have been licensed to two start-up companies,” said Waters.  “His accomplishments in the past year include ten peer-reviewed papers published, five patent filings and $30.0 million invested in BU-spinoff Guavus.”

The Boston University Innovator of the Year award highlights translational research at BU by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member and the potential for commercialization and/or wider adoption of their inventions.  It also encourages faculty to become entrepreneurial while promoting role models who can inspire graduate students to pursue entrepreneurial careers. Past winners are Mark Grinstaff of Biomedical Engineering, Avi Spira of School of Medicine, Jim Collins of Engineering and Ted Moustakas of Engineering.

[Read more]

Daily Free Press: BU Awarded $3M to Build Mass Open Cloud

April 30th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News, MOC News

Written by Adrian Baker, Published in the Daily Free Press on Apr 29, 2014

Boston University has received $3 million in state funding from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in addition to support from technology companies to develop the Massachusetts Open Cloud, the first cloud computing software of its kind.

“The MOC is conceived as a marketplace where different parties can contribute different assets that can be combined in creative and innovative ways to offer solutions or services that are hard, and often impossible, to develop in a closed cloud,” said Azer Bestavros, founding director of the BU Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering. More

BU Today: Pioneering a Cloud Computing “Mall”

April 28th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News, MOC News

Massachusetts awards $3 million to BU-led project

By Rich Barlow, Published in BU Today on April 28, 2014

Azer Bestavros, director of BU’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, says the University will spend the next three years developing software for the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) in collaboration with the commonwealth, technology companies, and BU’s university partners at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) in Holyoke, where the announcement was made. More

Call for 2014 Hariri Institute Research Proposals

February 20th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News

In pursuit of the Hariri Institute’s mission to catalyze and propel collaborative, interdisciplinary research through the use of computational and data-driven approaches, the Institute supports a portfolio of ambitious computational research projects, as well as forward-looking educational and outreach initiatives at Boston University.

In line with this mission, we are pleased to announce the Call for selecting and funding 2014 Institute portfolio projects. The process is designed to be fairly lightweight, imposing minimal overhead on proposing investigators, while ensuring that the process itself acts as a catalyst for the exchange and development of research ideas among Institute affiliates.

The process for exploring and developing projects to be sponsored by the Institute encourages principal investigators to involve the Institute in shaping and refining their research ideas, suggesting potential collaborations, identifying additional or alternative sources of funding, and finding other creative ways to help support the project.

Eligibility: Faculty Affiliates of the Hariri Institute are eligible to submit proposals for support from the Institute for research and other activities by completing the Research Funding Application.

Process: For details, please check the project proposal development, submission, and evaluation process and complete the Research Funding Application.

Deadline:  April 4, 2014 is the deadline for Summer/Fall start dates.  There will be a November 2014 deadline for Spring 2015 start date projects.

For more information: please contact Linda Grosser, Director, Program & Project Development, of the Hariri Institute, by email at

Sharon Goldberg Selected as 2014 Sloan Fellow

February 18th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News, Significant Bits


Sharon Goldberg

Hariri Institute Fellow and Computer Science Assistant Professor, Sharon Goldberg, has been selected as one of 126 Alfred P. Sloan scholars for 2014.

Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars “whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders.” Past Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to notable careers, winning Nobel Prizes, Fields Medal in mathematics, National Medals of Science, among others.

Covering eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in his or her field. Sloan Fellows receive $50,000 to further their research.

Sharon Goldberg pursues research at the nexus of security, cryptography, and networking. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2009, her B.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto in 2003, has worked as a researcher at IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft, as an engineer at Bell Canada and Hydro One Networks, and has served on working groups of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and most recently was awarded the IETF/IRTF Applied Networking Research Prize for 2014. Sharon joined the BU Computer Science Department in 2010 and was named a Hariri Junior Fellow in 2012.

[Read the Sloan Foundation Press Release]

Nominations Open for 2014-2015 Junior Faculty Fellows

February 8th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News

The Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering is now accepting nominations for the 2014/2015 class of Junior Faculty Fellows (see the 2011/2012 cohort, the 2012/2013 cohort, and the 2013/2014 cohort).

The Hariri Institute Junior Faculty Fellows program was established both to recognize outstanding junior faculty at Boston University working in diverse areas of the computational sciences, as well as to provide focal points for supporting broader collaborative research in these areas at BU and beyond. Junior Fellows are selected by the Hariri Institute Executive Steering Committee based on nominations received each spring, and are appointed for a two-year term.

Nominations can be submitted through the Hariri Institute web site by selecting “Junior Fellow Nomination” from the “Forms” menu at the top of the page.

Who May Submit Nominations: Nominations may be submitted by any BU faculty member.

Eligibility: Tenure-track assistant professors in their second or third year at BU are eligible.

Deadline: The nomination deadline is Friday, April 4, 2014.

Nomination Materials: The nomination form requires the following information (check the nomination form for details):

  • Contact information for the faculty member making the nomination and for the nominee.
  • Nomination letter submitted as a single PDF file that highlights how the candidate might contribute to, and benefit from participation in the HIC Junior Faculty Fellows Program.
  • Full curriculum vitae for the nominee, summarizing academic preparation and appointments, honors and awards, and at most 10 most relevant publications.
  • (Optionally) Any supporting materials that may be relevant the evaluation of the nominee, submitted as a single PDF file.
  • Selecting an Institute lab and cluster of interest to the nominee.

Additional Information: If you have any questions about the program or the nomination process, please contact Linda Grosser, Director of Program & Project Development at the Hariri Institute, by email at

Institute Announces 2013 Junior Faculty Fellows

October 18th, 2013 in BU News, Institute News

The Hariri Institute for Computing at Boston University is pleased to announce its third cohort of Junior Faculty Fellows. They are:


Gift by Paul Maritz Launches Institute Cloud Computing Initiative

August 20th, 2013 in BU News, Institute News, Significant Bits

Portait of Paul Maritz

Paul Martiz, Pivotal CEO

A $300,000 gift by Paul Maritz, Chief Executive Officer of Pivotal (an EMC-backed startup), is providing the critical resources needed to launch BU’s Cloud Computing Initiative (CCI), which is incubated at the Hariri Institute for Computing, and which is spearheaded by CS Research Professor and Institute Fellow, Orran Krieger.

Recently named as one of the 50 Most Powerful People in Enterprise Technology, Paul Maritz formed Pivotal in 2013.  At its core, Pivotal builds big data infrastructures, which are able to handle next-generation workloads, and which can be adopted broadly through development and use of application-friendly platforms. Before being tapped by EMC Corporation to lead Pivotal, Maritz served as Chief Strategist of EMC, and as CEO of VMware Inc., where he remains a member of its board of directors.  During his tenure at VMware, Maritz led the transformation of the company from a technology leader in virtualization to a category leader in cloud computing.


Institute Makes the Case for Computing to Congress

August 1st, 2013 in BU News, Institute News, Significant Bits

On July 10, 2013, The Council on Competitiveness, in conjunction with the U.S. House of Representatives Science and National Labs Caucus, held a briefing titled Extreme Computing: Why United States Industry, National Labs, and Academia Need Advanced Computing. More

BU Joins Leading Online Course Platform edX

May 21st, 2013 in BU News, Significant Bits

05.21.2013 By Rich Barlow (from BU Today)

Boston University BU, Azer Bestavros, Founding Director of the BU Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, edX, MOOCs massive open online courses, online education, Harvard-and-MIT-led online learning platform
Azer Bestavros, who co-chairs BU’s council exploring technology and education, says the online platform edX is a perfect fit for the University. Photo by Vernon Doucette

BU has joined edX, the Harvard-and-MIT-led online learning platform that shares the University’s commitment to using technology’s benefits for students on campus as well as off. The partnership will give BU professors more flexibility in designing their courses and discerning which educational methods work best with students.

Membership obligates BU to offer five MOOCs (massive open online courses) via edX, says Jean Morrison, University provost. MOOCs typically enable people around the world to take a university class for free, sans credit. But BU and edX also espouse blended, or hybrid, courses: for-credit classes that mingle face-to-face instruction with online work, says Elizabeth Loizeaux, associate provost for undergraduate affairs and cochair of the University’s Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation (CETLI).

Dan O’Connell, edX spokesperson, says hybrid courses allow professors to shift time normally spent on lectures to one-on-one or small-group teaching, to field trips, or to additional lectures delving more deeply into topics. O’Connell says early results from a pilot project edX is running in California show decreased failure rates in a hybrid course, compared to the traditional classroom version.

“The hybrid model provides the best of both worlds,” says Loizeaux, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of English. “It promotes the face-to-face nature of…classroom interactions,” both students-to-teacher and between students. It simultaneously offers students “the flexibility to access content online at their own pace,” she says, while allowing faculty to use technology for “presenting information and assessing learning outcomes in ways that are not possible in a traditional classroom setting.”

BU President Robert A. Brown says he is delighted that the University is joining the edX consortium. “I am pleased to help pioneer the development of digital learning environments,” says Brown. “And I’m excited about the opportunity to use these enhanced learning tools for our residential students, and to invent new hybrid educational platforms as the next step in our ongoing significant commitment to online learning, especially for our students in graduate professional programs.”

EdX will also extend BU’s significant global reach, both by making BU professors and courses accessible to a global audience, and by increasing global connections for BU students. For example, study abroad might be enhanced by online minicourses before, during, and after the main course; online modules or courses could connect BU students with other students around the world; and online courses might even enable students whose schedules currently keep them at home to study abroad.

EdX’s ability to help professors evaluate how well students are learning course material was a big factor in BU’s choosing it over other platforms, Loizeaux says. The edX platform is designed to capture data on how students learn, she says, a capability that put it head and shoulders above other platforms BU considered, because it will aid professors in understanding which pedagogical approaches best advance student learning.

What kind of data? “We are talking about ‘big data’ from hundreds of thousands of learners,” O’Connell says. (According to edX, 700,000 students currently use its platform.) “EdX collects every click, and also, along with collaborating universities, conducts surveys throughout each course.”

The data dig deep into the digital weeds, he says. For example, says Azer Bestavros, CETLI cochair and a CAS professor of computer science, “Course evaluators can see how often a student rewinds to review parts of lectures—possibly indicating that clarifications are necessary—and also factors affecting students’ completion of courses. Such data goes beyond that available from courses offered by BU and taken by BU students.” Bestavros notes that for any hybrid courses the University develops on edX, “we will have full control regarding what we measure and how we analyze it, and…that data will not be shared with other institutions.” Only aggregated data from all edX members is shared, he says.

As a nonprofit in a field filled with for-profit competitors, edX “aligns with CETLI’s sense of values and what we believe to be BU’s best interest,” says Bestavros, who is also director of the Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering.

The first hybrid courses on edX likely will be available “within the next couple of years,” Loizeaux says, while the MOOCs will be available in one year. EdX will complement, not replace, BU’s Blackboard e-learning system.

With more than 200 universities worldwide hoping for admission to edX—and with several elite institutions already in—“we are extraordinarily excited to be joining edX,” Morrison says. “It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with the consortium members on using their experience to better understand online learning.…We can learn from each other and develop best practices around higher education.”

Along with BU, edX welcomes several other institutions, including Cornell University, Davidson College, Berklee College of Music, Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Munich’s Technical University, the University of Washington, China’s Tsinghua University, Peking University,  Japan’s Kyoto University, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Seoul National University, Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), and the University of Queensland (Australia).

They join the founders plus the University of California, Berkeley, Rice University, the University of Texas, Wellesley College, Georgetown University, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), Australian National University, Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), and Canada’s McGill University and the University of Toronto.

“EdX is thrilled to welcome Boston University,” O’Connell says. Calling the University “a world-class institution with top faculty and courses,” he says the partnership will benefit both: edX will help BU “incorporate sophisticated online course work into its on-campus curriculum,” while BU “will help us extend our range” of courses reflecting “the diversity of the people on our platform.”

President Robert A. Brown created CETLI to examine developments in online education and recommend a plan for extending BU’s current technology use to enhance instruction for tuition-paying residential students. It also is to recommend ways to reach new audiences off campus who wanted to sample the University’s offerings. As part of its work, CETLI sponsored a symposium and forums this spring to discuss the issues it was considering. Through the CETLI Seed Grant program, it will also make grants to faculty to develop innovative approaches over the next year.