Hal Abelson Interview: Overview

Hal Abelson

On a separate page: Selected quotes from this interview

Brief background

Hal Abelson is Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He has been active using computation and computers in teaching since the 1970s. Abelson is a founding director of Creative Commons. He currently leads the development of MIT App Inventor. He has authored or co-authored seminal texts on Logo, Turtle graphics, LISP, and most recently on App Inventor.

Professor Abelson was honored with the 2012 SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education, with the citation “For improving not only the way we teach computing by his contributions to Logo, App Inventor, and his textbook authorship but also the way we view knowledge in the broader society, through his leadership with the Free Software and Open Educational Resources movements and his founding efforts with the Creative Commons initiative.” He was awarded the 2011 Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, is a Fellow of the IEEE, was recognized by the IEEE Computer Society for his continued contributions to the pedagogy and teaching of introductory computer science with the 1995 Taylor L. Booth Education Award, and received the Bose Award (MIT’s School of Engineering teaching award) in 1992.

At the time of this interview (2012), Hal was a full professor at MIT.

Interview materials

This section includes the audio and transcript of the interview with Hal Abelson, conducted on March 1, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA by Barbara Boucher Owens.

Audio of interview [75 minutes]

PDF of interview transcript
[27 pages, 1181 transcribed lines of text]

Other information about Hal Abelson

Video clip: Value of a broad education, with an example from an aeronautics project

  • About 2 minutes 5 seconds; PDF transcript of video clip is located further down under the video
  • This video clip is also available on CEOHP’s YouTube channel