Institute News

Bostonia features BU Sloan Fellows

March 27th, 2014 in Institute News, Research.

Institute Fellow, Sharon Goldberg, was featured as one of the two BU faculty members named as 2013 Sloan Fellow. As a network security researcher, Goldberg studies the global internet, and more specifically, the ways networks worldwide connect to one another. She uses tools from theory (such as cryptography) and networking (such as measurement, modeling, and simulation) to understand the hurdles computer scientists face when deploying new security technologies. She then tries to develop solutions to these problems.

[Read the article in Bostonia]

Physics Colloquium – Jennifer Chayes, Microsoft Research New England

March 18th, 2014 in Institute News, Significant Bits.

This event is part of the Physics Department Colloquia Series. Refreshments will be served at 3:00 in the 1st Floor Lounge.

Abstract: Everywhere we turn these days, we find that networks can be used to describe relevant interactions. In the high tech world, we see the Internet, the World Wide Web, mobile phone networks, and a variety of online social networks. In economics, we are increasingly experiencing both the positive and negative effects of a global networked economy. In epidemiology, we find disease spreading over our ever growing social networks, complicated by mutation of the disease agents. In problems of world health, distribution of limited resources, such as water resources, quickly becomes a problem of finding the optimal network for resource allocation. In biomedical research, we are beginning to understand the structure of gene regulatory networks, with the prospect of using this understanding to manage the many human diseases. In this talk, I look quite generally at some of the models we are using to describe these networks, processes we are studying on the networks, algorithms we have devised for the networks, and finally, methods we are developing to indirectly infer network structure from measured data. In particular, I will discuss models and techniques which cut across many disciplinary boundaries.

Bestavros appointed as Board Member of Cloud Caucus

March 6th, 2014 in Institute News.

Institute Director, Azer Bestavros, was appointed as board member of the Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group. The Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of technology companies and industry groups focused on educating lawmakers and the public about cloud computing as well as other information technology issues. Members of the Board represent some of the largest cloud providers and stakeholders, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, EMC, among others.



Call for 2014 Hariri Institute Research Proposals

February 20th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News, Research.

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]

Institute support of Levantine Ceramics Project recognized

February 11th, 2014 in Institute News, Significant Bits.

The Institute’s support of the Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP: by Professor of Archeology and Hariri Institute Fellow Andrea Berlin was recognized in a CSA Newsletter article. LCP is a collaboration between archeologists which makes evidence of ceramic wares, shapes, and laboratory analyses readily available for researchers through an on-line repository. The LCP project also organized a series of workshops on Levantine Ceramic Production and Distribution at the Danish Institute of Archaeology in Athens Greece. The first workshop was successfully launched in 2012, a second one in 2013, and there will be a third workshop coming up this spring. The LCP project is evidence of the potential of digital technology to transform research in various disciplines and the potential for taking good ideas to the next level through intense cooperation over online assets.

[Read Article]

NYT reports on Zervas and Byers’ work on “sharing economy”

February 9th, 2014 in Institute News, Research, Significant Bits.

new study by Institute Fellows Giorgos Zervas and John Byers, and their student Davide Proserpio demonstrates for the first time that the “sharing economy” is negatively impacting traditional business models. The study evaluated the impact of “apartment sharing”  through Airbnb on the traditional lodging industry, showing that for every 1 percent increase in the size of the Airbnb market (which offers millions of rentals around the world) hotel revenue slips 0.05 percent. An article on this study and its implications was published by New York Times Bits. Quoting Institute Junior Fellow Georgios Zervas, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston University, “Our study suggests that lower-tier hotels in dense Airbnb areas should be concerned, and if Airbnb keeps growing at the same rate, ‘fear’ might be a more accurate word.”

[NYT Bits Article] [Research Paper]


Nominations open for 2014-2015 Junior Faculty Fellows

February 8th, 2014 in BU News, Institute News, Research.

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 sponsors Reddit cofounder’s campus visit

December 11th, 2013 in Institute News.

On Monday December 9th, the Hariri Institute sponsored a visit by Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit) on how to be an entrepreneur. Alexis presentation was followed by a discussion that also included CS Alumna Rebecca Norlander. For more information on Alexis’ pitch, check this BU Today article.


Cranston awarded Digital Art History Grant from Kress Foundation

November 21st, 2013 in Institute News, Research, Significant Bits.

Professor Jodi Cranston, a Research Fellow of the Institute and a Professor in the Department of History of Art & Architecture, was awarded a Digital Art History Grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.  This prestigious grant will support the development of the “Mapping Titian” web portal and platform, which will serve as an archive and as an interpretative research and teaching tool by documenting and mapping one of the most fundamental concerns of the discipline of Art History: the interrelationship between an artwork and its changing historical context.

Focusing on the paintings executed by the Venetian Renaissance artist, Titian (ca. 1488-1576), the portal will include a searchable provenance index of his attributed pictures (totaling over 500 paintings) and will use geographic and non-geographic maps to interpret a historical network of artists, collectors, art dealers, travelers, and patrons through the geographic movement of these objects.  Users — scholars and students alike — will be able to customize their experience by specifying the parameters of their search interests and by having the opportunity to create their own maps, as well as export user-selected bibliographies, related documents, and provenance entries. The “Mapping Titian” portal will effectively be a tool from which new research, discoveries, and experiences can be inspired, guided, and shared.

A secondary and important goal of the project will be the development of a mapping platform that could be leveraged by future users, including art institutions that could visualize the provenance of any artwork or group of artworks.  Most museum websites currently share only minimal, if any, information regarding the provenance of an object. With the platform in place, museums could incorporate mapping functions to teach users about the “life” of a specific artwork. Additionally, museums could contribute to the platform by crowd-sourcing information about individual artworks.  A provenance map would also be a powerful demonstration of the ways in which artworks become casualties and shapers of history, such as Napoleon’s seizure and relocation of objects in the 19th century and the Nazi theft of objects and allied efforts to save and return artworks in World War II.