Prof. David Harel is a professor of computer science at the Weizmann Institute of Science and is currently the President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He has been at Weizmann 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 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 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, and 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 and 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 became involved in several other areas, including software and systems engineering, 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, which has over 10700 citations, the 1997 paper for the OO version, and this paper on its history), and co-inventor of live sequence charts (LSCs; see the 1998 paper), the idea of reactive animation (2002) and behavioral programming (2010). He was part of the team that designed the tools Statemate (1984-1987), Rhapsody (1997) the Play-Engine (2003) and PlayGo (2010). His work is also central to the UML. He has put forward visions/grand challenges for liberating programming (see this paper), for modeling an entire multi-cellular organism (see this paper), for a system of odor communication and synthesis (see this paper), and for wise computing (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, 2012) and Algorithmics: The Spirit of Computing (1987, 1992, 2004, 2012).
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), the Emet Prize (2010) and the ABZ Platinum Gold Medal from ETH Zurich (2013).
He has received honorary degrees from the University of Rennes (2005), the Open University of Israel (2006), the University of Milano-Bicocca (2007), the Technical University of Eindhoven (2012) and Bet Berl College (2014). He is a Fellow of the ACM (1994), the IEEE (1995), the AAAS (2007), and the EATCS (2016), and is a member of the Academia Europaea (2006) and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2010; Vice President as of Sept. 2015 and President as of Sept. 2021), and a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014), the US National Academy of Engineering (2014) the US National Academy of Sciences (2019) and the Chinese Acadmey of Sciences (2021). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) (2020).