Boston University’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering recently announced it has received funding from the National Science Foundation...
smart cityBoston University’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering recently announced it has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a “smart-city” cloud platform designed to streamline and strengthen multiple municipal functions.

Called SCOPE: A Smart-city Cloud-based Open Platform & Eco-system, the project is designed to improve transportation, energy, public safety, asset management, and social services in the City of Boston and across Massachusetts.

“Today’s cities are increasingly being challenged – to respond to diverse needs of their citizens, to prepare for major environmental changes, to improve urban quality of life, and to foster economic development,” said Azer Bestavros, Director of the Hariri Institute and SCOPE’s principal investigator. “So called ‘smart cities’ are closing these gaps through the use of technology to connect people with resources, to guide changes in collective behavior, and to foster innovation and economic growth.”

Spearheaded by the Hariri Institute, SCOPE is led by a multi-disciplinary team of investigators from the BU Departments of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Earth and Environment, Strategy and Innovation, and City Planning & Urban Affairs, and the Office of Technology Development. Industry partners include Schneider Electric, International Data Corporation (IDC), Integrated Technical Systems, Inc., Connected Bits, and CrowdComfort.

SCOPE investigators will develop and implement smart-city services that aim to improve the quality of urban life. For example, transportation and mobility services to reduce traffic congestion, save time and fuel, and reduce pollution; energy and environmental services that will monitor and estimate greenhouse gas emissions; public safety and security services for big-data-driven dispatch of police and traffic details, snow removal, coordinated public works scheduling, and municipal repairs; tools to manage city assets by mining large amounts of data and crowd-sourced coordination of asset use; and social, institutional and behavioral tools that will enable the adoption of new services, such as incentive programs and community report cards that promote transparency and sustainability.

Once developed, these services will be offered through the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC), a new public cloud designed and implemented through the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) and supported by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

Furthermore, SCOPE will leverage already existing Boston University projects, including the use of sensor networking for traffic light control applications (by co-PI Christos Cassandras), fusing data from multiple sources for route planning and public works scheduling (by co-PI Evimaria Terzi), and environmental monitoring of carbon emissions in urban settings (by co-PI Lucy Hutyra).

This also includes the Open Cloud eXchange (OCX), SCOPE’s enabling technology, a plug-and-play architecture that is the basis for the MOC.

SCOPE is a National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation (NSF PFI) project supported by over $1 million in funding from the NSF and its industry partners. For more information, visit

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