11: Shared Computing, Data Analysis, and Boston University’s Computing and Data Sciences Unit with Azer Bestavros

Seth interviews Dr. Azer Bestavros.  Azer is the Inaugural Associate Provost for Computing and Data Sciences (aka CDS) 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. He is also the Founding Director of the Hariri Institute for Computing. As he will share in this interview, Azer has worked on several major projects involving both public and private entities, looking at mathematical methods for analyzing data without compromising the privacy or the security of the data being examined.


Seth asks Azer about how he initially got involved with computer science and about the development of important topics in the field, such as massive shared computing systems and privacy preserving analytics. As Azer will explain, the mathematical and technological problems were sometimes easier to solve than the social challenges of trust and adoption. The key questions for this episode are: how can computational methods and technologies be used to address social challenges? How might data be integrated into other academic disciplines? What role do computer scientists have to play in larger research questions?