Professor Anant Agarwal

Founder, edX


Yidan Prize for Education Development




Affordable education, Equality in education, Education technology, Learning methods, Lifelong education, Vocational education

Focus by region


Changing the world with online learning

Professor Anant Agarwal is the Founder of edX, the online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT.

The edX platform aims to provide access to high quality education at scale, to learners around the world, regardless of geographic location, financial resources, prior academic qualifications, gender, race or other demographics. 

Professor Agarwal taught the first edX course in 2012. Covering circuits and electronics, it drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. At the time he accepted the award edX had already delivered over 3,000 online courses from more than 140 leading institutions to over 25 million people.


Making his mark

The accomplished Professor Agarwal even held a Guinness World Record for the largest microphone array, and is an author of the textbook Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits.

Scientific American selected his work on organic computing as one of 10 World-Changing Ideas in 2011. He was named in Forbes’ list of top 15 education innovators in 2012. 

A pioneer in computer architecture, Professor Agarwal 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.

Professor Agarwal also hacks on WebSim, an online circuits laboratory, in his spare time. 

Professor Agarwal holds a PhD from Stanford and a bachelor’s from IIT Madras.


Yidan Prize helps edX to grow

Programs offer online paths to career advancement

Professor Anant Agarwal is applying funds from the award to help create edX MicroBachelors programs. 

Designed to be a pathway to today’s top jobs, edX MicroBachelors programs offer a series of undergraduate level courses from leading universities. 

The programs provide comprehensive learning in a specific career field.

Learn more about edX MicroBachelors
“In short, it’s hard to think of a better project to help realise Charles’ dream of improving and making education more accessible across the world.”

By Ms Dorothy Gordon

Panel Head, Judging Panel for Education Development, Yidan Prize

Professor Anant Agarwal, Founder and CEO of edX, has drawn on his technical skills and his experience as an academic to support the creation of this exceptional, decentralised open learning platform that is already being used extensively around the world. A platform that he helped to create in partnership with MIT and Harvard University and which is designed to be open, inclusive and global.

EdX offers around 2,000 free courses from its official partners in more than 130 leading institutions in 196 countries to over 15 million global learners. In addition it is estimated that an even greater number of learners benefit from the independent use of the open platform all over the world. Edx also provides educational researchers with a robust data package that promotes consistent improvements in online learning. And when listening to Professor Agarwal speak about his vision for the future, it’s clear he is only just getting started.

In his speech on the day edX was launched, Professor Agarwal stated his dream to educate one billion people by using the platform to provide a vital alternative to mainstream models of education, EdX opens up countless new opportunities for potential learners around the world who would otherwise struggle to access traditional sources of education.

In short, it’s hard to think of a better project to help realise Charles’ dream of improving and making education more accessible across the world. EdX succeeds empowering people to choose what they learn, when they learn, where they learn and how they learn.

Find out more about how the Yidan Prize funds are being used.