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News Release


MIT Computer Scientist Presents "Universities, the Internet, and the Intellectual Commons"
Lecture is Part of Phi Beta Kappa's Visiting Scholar Program

Contact: Heidi Weber(518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 31, 2003) -- Hal Abelson, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will present "Universities, the Internet, and the Intellectual Commons," on Nov. 6, 4 p.m. in Lecture Center 19 on the University at Albany's uptown campus. The lecture is part of Phi Beta Kappa's annual Visiting Scholar Program in which twelve or more distinguished scholars visit 100 colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, a national honor society. The event, hosted by the Department of Computer Science and the UAlbany Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, is free and open to the public.

According to Abelson, co-director of the MIT-Microsoft Research Alliance, universities have a mission to create, preserve and disseminate knowledge. In addressing that mission, universities should take care to preserve and strengthen the intellectual commons - that shared wellspring of ideas and innovation from which all may freely draw. His talk describes initiatives aimed at bolstering the intellectual commons, both at MIT and elsewhere.

Abelson is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the IEEE's Booth Education Award 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 intellectual commons.

As part of the Visiting Scholar Program, Abelson will spend two days at UAlbany, meeting informally with students and faculty and taking part in classroom discussions. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.


Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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