Azer Bestavros

Warren Distinguished Professor of Computer Science + Associate Provost for Computing & Data Sciences

Azer Bestavros is the inaugural Associate Provost for Computing & Data Sciences appointed in 2019 to oversee the development and launch of the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences (CDS) a university-wide tenure-home and degree-granting academic unit focused on broadening BU’s footprint in computational and data-driven research as well as introduce new educational pathways for all students to gain computing, data science, and AI skills.

Under his leadership, CDS has grown to comprise 51 faculty members from 24 departments in 11 schools, including 15 new core hires in CDS who support newly-launched undergraduate (BS major and minor) and graduate (MS and PhD) programs that promote integrative pedagogy and an explicit focus on impact-driven experiential learning. Prior to taking on this leadership role, he was the Founding Director of the Hariri Institute for Computing, set up in 2010 to nucleate BU’s presence in computing and data sciences. He has been a member of the BU faculty since 1991 and chaired its Computer Science Department from 2000 to 2007.

Specializing in distributed systems and trustworthy computing, Professor Bestavros made seminal contributions to the technologies enabling content distribution and delivery on the Internet, cloud computing resource management, safety-critical software systems, and privacy-preserving big data analytics. Funded by over $40M from government and industry sponsors, his research yielded 20 PhD theses, 8 patents, 2 startups, and hundreds of refereed papers with over 23,000 citations. He has a long track record of professional service, including chairing and serving on editorial boards and program committees of flagship ACM and IEEE venues, chairing the IEEE Technical Committee on the Internet, and most recently chairing the 2019 NSF Committee of Visitors charged to evaluate the CISE Directorate portfolio and processes. He is frequently tapped for plenary presentations, federal and local government agency briefings, and media coverage related to contemporary issues at the nexus of computing, society, and public policy.

In recognition of distinguished teaching, research, and service, Professor Bestavros received many awards, most notably the inaugural ACM Sigmetrics Test of Time Award for 1996 work "whose impact is still felt 15 years after initial publication" and the 2010 United Methodist Scholar Teacher Award for "outstanding dedication and contributions to the learning arts and to the institution." In 2017, he was named a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, the highest distinction bestowed upon senior faculty members at BU for “representing our community with distinction, enriching the academic experience for our students, and raising our stature as a major research university.”

A native of Alexandria, Egypt, Professor Bestavros holds BS and MS degrees in Computer Engineering from Alexandria University, and SM and PhD degrees in Computer Science from Harvard University. With his wife Kathryn, he resides in Wayland, Massachusetts, where they raised their three BU Terrier children Mark (CAS’18), John (CAS’23), and Kristen (CDS’25).