Harold (Hal) Abelson is Class of 1922 Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and a Fellow of the IEEE. He is a winner of the 1995 Booth Education Award given by IEEE Computer Society, cited for his continued contributions to the pedagogy and teaching of introductory computer science, winner of the 2011 ACM Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, and also 2012 ACM SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education.
Abelson has played key roles in creating several of MIT’s institutional educational technology initiatives, including MIT OpenCourseWare and DSpace. He is currently director of the MIT App Inventor project. App Inventor’s goal is to make it easy for anyone to create mobile applications. The MIT App Inventor system hosts more than 300,000 active users each month, who among them have created more than 13 million mobile apps.
Abelson also collaborates in directing MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative, whose goal is helping to guide governments and private sector institutions around the world in framing sustainable, effective Internet and cybersecurity policy.
Together with MIT colleague Gerald Sussman, Abelson developed the computer science subject, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. This work, through a popular computer science textbook and videos lectures, has had a world-wide impact on university computer-science education.
Abelson is a leader in the worldwide movement towards openness and democratization of culture and intellectual resources. He is a founding director of Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, and the Free Software Foundation, and a former director of the Center for Democracy and Technology — organizations that are devoted to strengthening the global intellectual commons.