Anant Agarwal – President & Professor Advancing Online Education

Anant Agarwal is a professor specializing in electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is one of the world leaders in the effort to bring online education to the masses at a low cost.

Agarwal is the first president of the new joint partnership edX. This partnership is between MIT and Harvard University, and is offering comprehensive online learning opportunities to millions of learners around the globe (see more about edX below).

Agarwal in the past served as MIT’s director of computer science and also the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, or CSAIL. He also is a leader of the Carbon Group, which is focusing its research on operating systems and architectures for clouds and manycores. Agarwal is the CTO and founder of Tilera Corp, which is the creator of the Tile multicore processor.

Professor Agarwal is the holder of a Ph.D from Stanford University, and also a bachelor’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He was the leader of the development of Raw, which was an early tiled multicore processor; Sparcle, an early multithreaded microprocessor; and Alewife, which was a scalable microprocessor. Agarwal also was the leader of the VirtualWires project at MIT, and he founded Virtual Machine Works. This took the VirtualWires technoloy to maturation and brought it to market. Agarwal wrote the textbook ‘Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Clouds.’

More About edX

One of Professor Agarwal’s most recent efforts is in support of edX. This new online education program is building on MIT’s and Harvard’s extensive experience in offering informative, low cost instructional content. The platform of technology recently was established by MITx, which is serving as the foundation and base for this new system of learning. edX was designed to provide online versions of many MIT courses. They feature video lessons, quizzes, feedback options, Q&A, online labs, and learning at the learner’s pace.

One of the interesting aspects of edX is that ‘certificates of mastery’ are going to be offered to those who are able to fully demonstrate their high knowledge of the provided course material.

Agarwal believes that over a few years, other large universities are going to offer courses on the brand new edX platform. He believes that this will allow learners around the world to access low cost or free course materials from one website. They will then be able to use the edX educational tools and share the material among all universities that are participating.