Harel, David

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HAREL, DAVID (1950– ), Israeli mathematician and computer scientist. Harel was born in London and immigrated to Israel in 1957. After service in the Israel Defense Forces (1968–71), he graduated with a B.Sc. in mathematics and computer science from Bar-Ilan University (1974), followed by an M.Sc. in computer science from Tel Aviv University (1976), and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978). He joined the faculty of the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, in 1980 and was appointed professor (1989), William Sussman Professor of Mathematics (1990), department chairman (1989–95), and dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science (1998–2004). His past research interests include computability theory, program logic, and database and automata theory. His later interests were software and systems engineering, visual languages, synthesis and communication of smell, and modeling and analysis of biological systems.

He invented the language of statecharts and co-designed Statemate and Rhapsody, lscs, and the play in/out methodology. One of his long-term goals was to adapt the language and tools of computer systems to model and simulate a complete multi-cellular animal such as the C. elegans worm. His national and international reputation is reflected by his many plenary and keynote lectures to conferences worldwide, membership on editorial boards, visiting professorships, and membership on international review committees. His awards include the Association of Computing Machinery's Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award (1992), the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Software and Software Methods (1997), and the Israel Prize in computer science (2004). Harel has a major interest in education in his field and in science in general. He was a member of Israel's Higher Education Committee (1988–89) and of the Ministry for Education's High School Committee for Computer Science (1990–97). He also gave a series of lectures and organized programs on computer science for Israeli radio and television. His books, such as Computers Ltd.: What They Really Can't Do (2000) and Algorithmics: The Spirit of Computing (1987, 1992, 2004), are acclaimed as readable, outstanding computer science texts for specialists and general readers alike.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]