Gregory D. Abowd

Dean of the College of Engineering,  Office of the Dean
Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Health Sciences
Affiliated Faculty,  Khoury College of Computer Sciences


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Research Focus

Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Software Engineering


Gregory D. Abowd is Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University.  Prior to joining Northeastern in March 2021, he was a Regents’ Professor and held the J.Z. Liang Chair in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also served as Associate Dean of Research and Space for the College of Computing. Abowd is an internationally renowned and highly cited scientist, well known for his contributions in the general area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and specifically for his groundbreaking research in ubiquitous computing.

In more than 26 years at Georgia Tech, Dr. Abowd initiated bold and innovative research efforts, such as Classroom 2000 and the Aware Home, as well as pioneering innovations in autism and technology, health systems, CampusLife, and a joint initiative with engineering in computational materials. He was on the founding editorial board of IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine, and was founding Editor-in-Chief of Foundations and Trends in HCI and The Proceedings of the ACM in Interactive, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies. He also founded the non-profit Atlanta Autism Consortium in 2008 to serve and unite the various stakeholder communities in Atlanta connected to autism research and services.

Dean Abowd’s contributions to the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Ubiquitous Computing have been recognized through numerous awards. In 2008, he was named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. That same year, he was inducted into the ACM CHI Academy, the most prestigious honor for researchers in HCI.  In 2009, he received the ACM Eugene Lawler Humanitarian Award for his work in autism and technology. As of 2020, he graduated 30 Ph.D. students, 20 of whom have gone on to successful careers at top universities around the world.

Dr. Abowd received the degree of B.S. in Honors Mathematics in 1986 from the University of Notre Dame. He then attended the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning the degrees of M.Sc. (1987) and D.Phil. (1991) in Computation from the Programming Research Group in the Computing Laboratory. From 1989-1992 he was a Research Associate/Postdoc with the Human-Computer Interaction Group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York in England. From 1992-1994, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Software Engineering Institute and the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

View a video of Dr. Abowd’s talk on his career, titled “Ignorance Is Bliss: A Career Retrospective.”


  • D.Phil, Computation, University of Oxford, United Kingdom 1991
  • MSc, Computation, University of Oxford, United Kingdom 1987
  • BS, Mathematics, University of Notre Dame 1986

Honors & Awards

Professional Affiliations

  • IEEE Computer Society
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Research Overview

Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Software Engineering

Dr. Abowd’s research interests lie in the intersection between Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction. Specifically, he is interested in ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) and the research issues involved in building and evaluating ubicomp applications that impact our everyday lives when they are seamlessly integrated into our living spaces.

His research involves the application-driven aspects of mobile and ubiquitous computing. His approach is fundamentally human-centered, but with an emphasis on how technologies can be developed to address opportunities or challenges. The challenges for designing, implementing and evolving hardware and software for everyday human use that runs reliably, continuously and appropriately on the wide variety of worn, held and embedded platforms are numerous and complex. From the human-centered perspective, significant research themes emerge when new computing technology is put into real-life situations. To date, Dr. Abowd has led a group of that has examined such “living laboratories” in application domains of education, personal information management, life in the home, and health management.

The research themes to have emerged from such work are: automated capture and access to live experiences; context-aware applications; and natural interfaces between the physical and electronic worlds. A significant research theme that has resulted from his personal motivation has been the development of technologies to support challenges associated with the understanding and management of autism.

Selected Publications


Apr 10, 2024

Renaming and Dedication of the Michael B. Silevitch and Claire J. Duggan Center for STEM Education

At the renaming and dedication ceremony of the Michael B. Silevitch and Claire J. Duggan Center for STEM Education, public school community members, alumni, faculty, staff, students, and Northeastern leadership recognized the impact made on a countless number of students for more than 35 years.


Mar 04, 2024

COE Research Expo Displays Promising Work of PhD Students

The College of Engineering held a research expo to highlight the work of PhD students. Participants presented their research to a panel of judges and gained critical presentation and communication skills. They also displayed their research during the poster showcase and students were recognized with awards.


Feb 22, 2024

Engineers Week Speaker Discusses Creating Inclusivity Through Psychological Safety

As part of the National Engineers Week celebration, chemical engineer and DEI leader Mark McBride-Wright spoke at a fireside chat with COE Dean Gregory Abowd about creating inclusivity and leading teams by creating a psychologically safe environment in the workplace and beyond.


Feb 01, 2024

Celebrating Bioengineering at Northeastern: Visions for the Future

The Department of Bioengineering hosted a 10 year anniversary celebration to commemorate what the department has accomplished and showcase its plans for the future.


Dec 12, 2023

Center for Battery Sustainability and the 2nd Workshop

Faculty, researchers, students, and industry leaders gathered at the 2nd Battery Sustainability Workshop to discuss sustainability, recycling, and more. MIE Assistant Professor Juner Zhu, along with MIT professors Martin Z. Bazant and Richard D. Braatz, founded the Center for Battery Sustainability, after participating in last year’s event. 


Dec 07, 2023

2023 Stanford University Annual Assessment of Author Citations

The following COE professors are among the top scientists worldwide selected by Stanford University representing the top 2% of the most-cited scientists with single-year impact in various disciplines. The selection is based on the top 100,000 by c-score (with and without self-citations) or a percentile rank of 2% or above. The list below includes those […]


Oct 12, 2023

Abowd Receives 10-Year UbiComp Impact Award

Gregory D. Abowd, dean of the College of Engineering and professor of ECE, was a recipient of the UbiComp 2023 10-Year Impact Award for his paper, “Instant Inkjet Circuits: Lab-based Inkjet Printing to Support Rapid Prototyping of UbiComp Devices.” that was published in 2013. The award is given to papers published at the conference 10 years ago that have been deemed the most impactful over time.


Jul 07, 2023

25 Prominent Autism Researchers in the World

Dean Gregory D. Abowd was featured in the Autism Parenting Magazine article “25 Prominent Autism Researchers In The World.”


Apr 13, 2023

Northeastern University to have Strong Presence at ACM CHI 2023

The most prestigious human–computer interaction conference in the world is taking place in Hamburg, Germany this month, and researchers from Khoury College, the College of Engineering, and the College of Arts, Media and Design are ready. Their work, which touches on everything from parrot socialization to deceptive dark patterns to social media misinformation, has made […]


Mar 01, 2023

Celebrating National Engineers Week 2023

The College of Engineering celebrated National Engineers Week with events including a ‘Break the Mold’ Fireside Chat with award-winning engineer and commentator Dr. Shini Somara and Dean Gregory Abowd; Cookies with the Dean event, which included snacks, photo and video booths, COE swag and a lot of COE pride; Breakout sessions with Shini Somara with select students and faculty showing our progressive engineering program, research, and community; and an Engineering for Everyone Expo hosted by the Center for STEM Education.

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