Leadership

Azer Bestavros

Azer Bestavros is the inaugural associate provost for Computing and Data Sciences at Boston University and the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor in the Computer Science Department, which he joined in 1991 and chaired from 2000 to 2007. Prior to his appointment in 2019 to lead the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, he was the founding director of the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering.

Read his full bio here.

Ziba Cranmer

Ziba is the Founding Director of Spark! and member of the Innovate @ BU Steering Committee. She is an innovation leader with diverse experience spanning the public and private sectors. Ziba is passionate about interdisciplinary innovation fueled by technology. Prior to BU, Ziba led a national initiative supporting public sector innovators in cities across the United States to combat trafficking through technology. She spent over 11 years working in the private sector for companies like Nike Inc. where she was a Portfolio Director in the Sustainable Business and Innovation Lab, an internal venture unit responsible for driving new business opportunities and and social impact. Ziba also worked in marketing and communications as a senior advisor and account lead to technology startups and many leading global brands including Fedex, Disney, and Hilton Worldwide.

Chris DeVits

Chris earned his BA in Politics from Saint Anselm College in 2007. He earned his Masters of Education in 2009 and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in 2016, both from Boston University’s School of Education. He was awarded the 2021 Susan K. Jackson Award for Creating Community in the College of Arts & Sciences at Boston University, he is a recipient of the 2017 CAS Outstanding Service Award, served as Chair of the College’s inaugural Professional Development Committee, and is a graduate of the University’s “Choose to Manage” and “Management, Acumen, and Performance (M.A.P)” program. He has been an instructor in the First Year Experience program (FY101), founded the Department Student Internship Program (now CS Ambassadors), has participated as an early adopter of many new University systems and technologies, and was a veteran of the CAS staff intramural softball team.

Executive Leadership Team

In June 2021, a leadership team was set up to act in an executive capacity.  The current members weigh in on all aspects of CDS development.

Margrit Betke

Professor Betke has been a member of BU’s Computer Science faculty since 2000 and co-leads the Image and Video Computing Research Group in her department and the AI Research Initiative at the Hariri Institute for Computing. Her current work applies machine learning and computer vision to such areas as medical imaging, interfaces for people with disabilities, assessing home-based physical therapy, quantifying political bias in the news, and analyzing online product availability and pricing in relation to world events. A senior member of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), she has published extensively in premier journals and is supported by several major grants from the National Science Foundation and Google. She holds a PhD and MS in electrical engineering and computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Discover more about Margrit.

Mark Crovella

A member of BU’s Computer Science faculty since 1994 and past department chair, Mark Crovella works to improve the understanding, design, and performance of parallel and networked computer systems – mainly through the application of data mining, statistics, and performance evaluation. His recent work has focused on the analysis of social and biological networks with applications to recommender systems, public opinion analytics, and computational biology. He is an elected fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), holds 10 patents derived from his research, and has published a book and more than 200 widely-cited papers on networking and computer systems. He holds a doctorate from the University of Rochester, a master’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Find a complete bio of Mark here.

Eric Kolaczyk

A leader in both education and research, Eric Kolaczyk, a professor of Mathematics & Statistics who leads the Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, works at the critical point where statistical theory and methods support human endeavors enabled by computing and engineering systems. He studies principles of design, representation, modeling, inference, prediction, and uncertainty quantification that are foundational to new paradigms for data measurement and analysis and, ultimately, key to gaining insight into everything from health and science to business and society. In addition to his research work, Eric founded the Masters in Statistical Practice Program (MSSP) – a pedagogically innovative, practice-centric degree program that exposes students to how statistics is applied in real-world scenarios.

Whether research or education, learn more about Eric Kolaczyk’s thinking on statistics here.

Yannis Paschalidis

Yannis Paschalidis has been a College of Engineering faculty member since 1996 and is director of the BU-based Center for Information and Systems Engineering. An internationally-recognized leader in systems and control, networks, decision theory, optimization, and operations research, he is currently developing predictive analytics with applications to a number of areas with significant impact on society, including computational biology, digital health, smart cities, and transportation systems. He is a fellow of IEEE, the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, and has published extensively in top scientific and engineering journals. A graduate of National Technical University of Athens (Greece), he holds a PhD and MS in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to Electrical & Computer Engineering, he holds affiliated appointments with Systems Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Explore Yannis’s interests and publications.

Wesley Wildman

Are there actually solutions to seemingly intractable social problems such as rural suicide, religious violence, and sexual exploitation of children? Professor Wesley Wildman at our School of Theology is seeking answers. Using computer modeling, he creates populations of cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally complex AI agents to deepen our understanding of such problems. These replica societies can then provide a platform for virtual experimentation, allowing evaluation of the likely costs, benefits, and unintended consequences of public policy proposals. The simulations are data-hungry and depend on careful theoretical integration across numerous disciplines—just the sort of thing BU is built for.

Wesley Wildman’s research center offers more examples of how he brings together the humanities and data sciences.