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Anant Agarwal

Chief Open Education Officer

My mantra: education is a human right–everyone should have access to it like the air we breathe.

Anant Agarwal is the chief open education officer at 2U, Inc., guiding and furthering the company’s mission to increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere. Anant joined 2U through the edX acquisition, where he directed its evolution into one of the world’s leading online learning platforms as founder and CEO.

As the first educator to teach an edX course on circuits and electronics from MIT, Anant drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. He remains a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT today. Previously, he served as the director of CSAIL, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Anant is a successful serial entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies including Tilera Corporation, which created the Tile multicore processor, and Virtual Machine Works. He has received multiple accolades over the years for his pursuit of great educational innovation. He won the Maurice Wilkes prize for computer architecture and MIT's Smullin and Jamieson prizes for teaching. He is also the 2016 recipient of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize for Higher Education, which recognized his work in advancing the MOOC movement. Additionally, he is a recipient of the Padma Shri award from the President of India and was named the Yidan Prize Laureate for Education Development in 2018.

A pioneer in computer architecture, Anant is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the ACM. Scientific American selected his work on organic computing as one of 10 World-Changing Ideas in 2011, and he was named in Forbes' list of top 15 education innovators in 2012.

Anant held a Guinness World Record for the largest microphone array, is an author of the textbook "Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits,” and he hacks on WebSim, an online circuits laboratory, in his spare time. He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford and a bachelor's from IIT Madras.