Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Hal Abelson is Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

Universities, the Internet, and the Intellectual Commons

Universities have a mission to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge. In addressing that mission, we should take care to preserve and strengthen the intellectual commons - that shared wellspring of ideas and innovation from which all may freely draw. Today, both the intellectual commons and the university community that rely upon it are confronting stresses from both within and outside of the university, stresses such as squabbles over who owns academic work, technologies for restricting the dissemination of knowledge, and the impact of increasingly stringent and far-reaching intellectual property laws. This talk describes initiatives aimed at bolstering the intellectual commons, both at MIT and elsewhere. These include the OpenCourseWare effort to publish the materials of all MIT courses for free use worldwide, the DSpace Federation of institutional research publication archives, and the Creative Commons project to promote sharing on the Internet. Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program makes available each year twelve or more distinguished scholars who visit 100 colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. They spend two days on each campus, meeting informally with students and faculty members, taking part in classroom discussions, and giving a public lecture open to the entire academic community. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. On November 6 and 7, the Department of Computer Science, in conjunction with the UAlbany Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, is hosting visiting scholar Professor Hal Abelson of MIT. Professor Abelson will be giving a public lecture entitled "Universities, the Internet, and the Intellectual Commons." The time and place is 4:00 PM, Thursday, November 6, LC-19, in the Lecture Center.

HAL ABELSON Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hal Abelson is professor of electrical engineering and computer science and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is winner of several teaching awards, including the IEEE's Booth Education Award, cited for his contributions to the teaching of undergraduate computer science. His research at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory focuses on "amorphous computing," an effort to create programming technologies that can harness the power of the new computing substrates emerging from advances in microfabrication and molecular biology. He is also engaged in the interaction of law, policy, and technology as they relate to societal tensions sparked by the growth of the Internet, and is active in projects at MIT and elsewhere to help bolster our intellectual commons.

A founding director of the Free Software Foundation and of Creative Commons, he serves as a consultant to Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. He is co-director of the MIT-Microsoft Research Alliance in educational technology and co-head of WT's Council on Educational Technology.

Degrees: A.B. Princeton University Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology