David Harel

Prof. David Harel has been at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel since 1980, and is incumbent of the William Sussman Professorial Chair. He was Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from 1989 to 1995, and was Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science from 1998 for seven years. He currently heads the John von Neumann Minerva Center for the Development of Reactive Systems.

He received a BSc from Bar-Ilan University (1974), an MSc from Tel-Aviv University (1976) and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978). He has spent two years at IBM’s Yorktown Heights research center, sabbatical years at Carnegie-Mellon University, Cornell University and the University of Edinburgh, and shorter visiting positions at IBM, Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, DEC, NASA, University of Birmingham, Verimag, the National University of Singapore and Microsoft Research Cambridge. From 1991 to1999 he was an adjunct professor at the Open University of Israel. He was also co-founder of  I-Logix, Inc. in 1984, which was acquired by Telelogic in 2006, which, in turn, was acquired by IBM in 2008.

In the past he has worked in several areas of theoretical computer science, including computability theory (see, e.g., this paper), logics of programs (see, e.g., this book), database theory (see, e.g., this paper), and automata theory (see, e.g., this paper).  Over the years, his activity in these areas diminished, and he has become involved in several other areas, including software and systems engineering, object-oriented analysis and design, visual languages, layout of diagrams, modeling and analysis of biological systems, and the synthesis and communication of smell. He has published widely on these topics (see list of publications), including several books. He is the inventor of the language of statecharts (see the 1984 paper for the original version of the language, the 1997 paper for the OO version, and the recent paper on its history), and co-inventor of live sequence charts (LSCs; see the 1998 paper) and of the idea of reactive animation (2002). He was part of the team that designed the tools Statemate (1984-1987),  Rhapsody (1997) and the Play-Engine (2003).  His work is central to the behavioral aspects of the UML.  He has put forward grand challenges for liberating programming (see this paper), for modeling an entire multi-cellular organism (see this paper), and for a system of odor communication and synthesis (see this paper).

He has devoted part of his time to educational and expository work: In 1984 he delivered a lecture series on Israeli radio (see the book version|), and in 1998 he hosted a series of programs on Israeli television. Some of his writing is intended for a general audience; see, for example, Computers Ltd.: What They Really Can’t Do (2000) and Algorithmics: The Spirit of Computing (1987, 1992, 2004).

He has received honorary degrees from the University of Rennes, the Open University of Israel, and the University of Milano-Bicocca. He is a Fellow of the ACM, the IEEE, and the AAAS, and is a member of the Academia Europaea and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

His awards include the ACM Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award (1992), the Stevens Award in Software Development Methods (1996), the Israel Prize (2004), the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award (2006), the ACM Software System Award (2007), the ACM SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award (2008), and the Emet Prize (2010).

A copy of David’s paper ‘A Turing-like test for biological modeling’ published in Nature Biotechnology in 2005:

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