Hal Abelson
#12284 Overall Influence

Hal Abelson

Computer scientist

About

Why is this person notable and influential?

Hal Abelson is the founding director of Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He directed the first use of Logo, a programming language for the Apple II, and worked with Gerald Sussman to develop MIT’s foundational computer science textbook, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, which was based on the premise that coding languages were merely a structured means of communicating with computers. Among the hacker community, this text is referred to as the “Wizard Book”.

Abelson has also been instrumental in the development of App Inventor, a program that makes app development easy and accessible for beginners. Once the program became open source, Abelson became codirector for the MIT Center for Mobile Learning, where they continue to develop the App Inventor program.

He has been a fierce proponent for open source and open access, starting and supporting ongoing initiatives such as the Free Software Foundation and MIT OpenCourseWare. These programs are intended to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information with the world, breaking down barriers to access faced by students and scholars.

Academic Website

Featured in Top Influential Computer Scientists Today

Other Resources

Schools

What schools is this person affiliated with?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Princeton University
Princeton University

Private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey, United States

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Notable Works

What contributions to academia has this person made?

    Influence Rankings by Discipline

    How’s this person influential?
    #41 World Rank #26 USA Rank
    Computer Science
    #1673 World Rank #632 USA Rank
    Engineering
    #2292 World Rank #595 USA Rank
    Mathematics