The Software & Application Innovation Lab at the Hariri Institute for Computing is a professional software design and development lab that serves as a collaborative resource for computational and data-driven research efforts across Boston University.

Recognizing that both the quality and impact of research are dependent on the development of high-grade software artifacts, the Institute launched SAIL in 2014 to provide researchers with professional software development capacity in support of projects that require cutting-edge solutions.

Supported projects focus on a wide range of topics and technologies, from using natural language processing to analyze large literature corpora, to solving record linkage problems for public health and economics applications, to building mobile applications for medical studies, to building smart-city services and platforms. SAIL is committed to promoting innovation within the research community and will learn new technologies and techniques as determined by the needs of any given project.

SAIL consists of a small team of professional software architects and developers who are assigned to work directly with faculty members (and their research teams) on specific software and application development projects. Additionally, these professional software engineers supervise a team of BU student interns through the SAIL Internship program. Professional SAIL staff act as the clearing house for software developed by students, thus allowing the research community to leverage the untapped software development capacity of undergraduate and graduate students at BU, while ensuring project continuity.

SAIL provides consultations, project and budget planning assistance, prototype and software application development, and other forms of support to research efforts.

SAIL has worked with over 40 clients across 12 schools at Boston University, providing critical software support to numerous research efforts funded by the Hariri Research Awards, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other agencies. Depending on the nature and scale of these projects, the extent of SAIL assignments may vary from weeks to months. Examples of past and ongoing projects include:

  • Developing DASH for Health, a cross-platform mobile application for nutrition and exercise habits.
  • Creating a secure and user-friendly data analytics service to advance salary equity among Boston companies.
  • Applying machine learning techniques to enable the study of cultural differences in British and Danish literature.

If you would like to explore how SAIL can help you achieve your research objectives or would like to discuss what resources are available, please fill out a request form or contact Andrei Lapets, Director of Research Development, at

If you are seeking other forms of support (including seed funding) for a research effort that requires computational science expertise or software engineering resources, you may also want to review the Hariri Research Award program.

SAIL offers paid internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate Boston University students who are interested an internship within a professional software development environment within a research university context. Interns at the lab have the opportunity to gain experience working with professional software developers and architects as software engineer interns, UI/UX design interns, and graphic design interns.

For more information about SAIL, including inquiries for joining the team, please visit the SAIL website or contact Andrei Lapets, Director of Research Development and Director of SAIL.