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Hal Abelson

Hal Abelson is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and a fellow of IEEE. He is winner of several major teaching awards at MIT, as well as the IEEE’s Booth Education Award, cited for his contributions to the teaching of undergraduate computer science.Abelson has a longstanding interest in using computation as a conceptual framework in teaching. He directed the first implementation of the Logo computer language for the Apple Computer, which made programming for children widely available on personal computers beginning in 1981. Together with Gerald Sussman, Abelson developed MIT’s introductory computer science subject, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, a subject organized around the notion that a computer language is primarily a formal medium for expressing ideas about methodology, rather than just a way to get a computer to perform operations. This work, through a popular computer science textbook and video lectures has had a world-wide impact on university computer-science education. Abelson is a founding director of the Free Software Foundation and Public Knowledge, as well as a a founding director of Creative Commons. At MIT, Abelson is is co-director of MIT’s Council on Educational Technology, which oversees the Institute’s strategic educational technology planning.