BU Today

Campus Life

Hariri Institute Names First Junior Faculty Fellows

Pursuing trustee’s mission of interdisciplinary research


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 and Engineering.

The projects of the fellows epitomize the institute’s mission: using computation across a range of academic disciplines to spur collaborative, path-breaking research and training. The six junior fellows—a management scholar, two computer scientists, a mathematician, and two engineers—will serve two-year terms. Each will deliver a Hariri Institute Distinguished Lecture in the coming months.

The goal is to appoint junior fellows each year to maintain a roster of a dozen at any given time, says institute associate director Win Treese. The institute will also sponsor visiting and postdoctoral fellows; currently, there are two visiting fellows and one postdoctoral fellow.

“From the first meeting of the fellows, I could see the exciting and unique opportunity of participating in this highly interdisciplinary center,” says new fellow Jason Ritt (GRS’03), a College of Engineering 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 College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of computer science, has studied Facebook as part of her research into data mining, particularly by social networks. The institute, she says, is “an excellent facilitator for data mining research, as it brings together scientists from different areas. Being part of it is an excellent opportunity for making data mining research at BU stronger.”

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

Besides Jason Ritt and Evimaria Terzi, the fellows are:

  • Jonathan Appavoo, a CAS 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, an ENG 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, e-commerce, and grid computing. His work includes applying game theory to optimize market rules.

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

+ Comments
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

Post Your Comment

(never shown)