Luis von Ahn

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Luis von Ahn (born August 19, 1978) is a Guatemalan entrepreneur and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He is known for his work in crowdsourcing, and he founded reCAPTCHA, later sold to Google, and Duolingo.[1][2][3][4]

Early Life and Education[change | change source]

Von Ahn was born in Guatemala City to a well-off family. His mother, a pioneering woman in Guatemala's medical field, had him at age 42. He attended the American School of Guatemala and developed an early interest in technology. Von Ahn studied at Duke University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics in 2000, and later received a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005.[5][6]

Career and Research[change | change source]

Initially working in cryptography, von Ahn gained fame for his work on CAPTCHAs, tests used to prevent automated abuse on websites. His PhD introduced the concept of "human computation," combining human and computer power to solve problems. He developed games like the ESP Game, later licensed by Google. In 2007, he created reCAPTCHA, a CAPTCHA that digitizes books.[7]

Duolingo[change | change source]

In 2009, von Ahn co-founded Duolingo, a language education platform. Duolingo saw increased users during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as of May 2020, was valued at $1.5 billion.[8][9]

Awards and Honors[change | change source]

Von Ahn's work on CAPTCHAs and human computation earned him several awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. He received recognition from various sources, such as being named one of the 50 Best Brains in Science and being awarded the Lemelson-MIT prize in 2018.[10][11]

Teaching[change | change source]

Von Ahn has won teaching awards at Carnegie Mellon University. He taught a course titled "Science of the Web" that combined graph theory and social science.[12][13]

Philanthropy[change | change source]

In 2021, von Ahn established the Luis von Ahn Foundation to support Guatemalans, especially women and girls, through financial aid to local leaders and nonprofit organizations. In 2022, the foundation planned to donate $3 million to organizations focusing on women's and girls' equality, environmental conservation, democracy, and youth participation.[14][15]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Innovator Under 35: Luis von Ahn, 29 - MIT Technology Review". 2021-01-04. Archived from the original on 2021-01-04. Retrieved 2023-12-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. "Luis von Ahn". Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  3. Ahn, Luis von. "Luis von Ahn | Speaker | TED". Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  4. "dblp: Luis von Ahn". Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  5. "SCS Directory". Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  6. "Teaching computers to read: Google acquires reCAPTCHA". Official Google Blog. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  7. "The man teaching 300 million people a new language". 2020-01-27. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  8. "Duolingo boss: 'Develop your social skills'". BBC News. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  9. "Can Duolingo Actually Teach You Spanish?". 2022-12-02. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  10. Magazine, Smithsonian. "The Player". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  11. "Computer Science - Duke University". 2017-02-01. Archived from the original on 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  12. "". Retrieved 2023-12-11. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  13. "reCAPTCHA (a.k.a. Those Infernal Squiggly Words) Almost Done Digitizing the New York Times Archive - Techtonic Shifts Blog -". 2009-11-15. Archived from the original on 2009-11-15. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  14. "When Duolingo was young: the early years". VatorNews. 2018-06-22. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  15. Munday, Pilar (2016-01-03). "The case for using DUOLINGO as part of the language classroom experience". RIED-Revista Iberoamericana de Educación a Distancia. 19 (1): 83–101. doi:10.5944/ried.19.1.14581. ISSN 1390-3306.