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Center for Mobile Learning
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 serves co-chair of the MIT Council on Educational Technology, which oversees MIT's strategic educational technology activities and investments. In this capacity, he played key roles in fostering MIT institutional educational technology initiatives such MIT OpenCourseWare and DSpace.
He is the originator of App Inventor, which he initiated while a visiting faculty member at Google Research. Together with MIT colleague Gerald Sussman, he developed the computer science subject Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. This work, through a popular computer science textbook and video lectures, has had a world-wide impact on university computer-science education.
Abelson is also 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 director of the Center for Democracy and Technology—organizations that are devoted to strengthening the global intellectual commons.
Abelson collaborates in directing the Decentralized Information Group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where he is investigating privacy on the World Wide Web and developing a new approach to privacy based upon information transparency and accountability rather than access control. More generally, Abelson has a broad interest in information technology and policy, and he developed and teaches the MIT course Ethics and Law on the Electronic Frontier. He co-authored the 2008 book Blown to Bits, which describes the cultural and political disruptions caused by the information explosion.