Luis von Ahn named one of top young innovators

Seven years after graduating at the top of his class from Duke University, and only two after obtaining his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon, our own professor Luis von Ahn has yet another honor to add to an already burgeoning résumé.

In August, Technology Review selected von Ahn from a group of 300 nominees as one of their top 35 Young Innovators Under 35. For von Ahn, this honor comes after years of pathbreaking papers, successful research projects, and keynote speeches, not to mention a spot on Popular Science magazine’s list of the 10 brilliant scientists of 2006 and a $500,000 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation — all in only two short years.

Von Ahn, whose research specialty is the computational abilities of humans, has been a pioneer with CAPTCHAs, which is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Technology Review’s editors recognized von Ahn for his innovative work on reCAPTCHAs, a project which centers on making CAPTCHAs out of chunks of actual printed texts that are indistinguishable to computers.

The Tartan would like to offer Professor von Ahn a hearty congratulations on his most recent achievement and thank him for everything he has done for the betterment of Carnegie Mellon and the field of human computation.

It is a testament to the hard work done at Carnegie Mellon that at the same time we are congratulating Professor von Ahn, professor Maria Kurnikova’s Mellon College of Science research group is making incredible strides in understanding Alzheimer’s disease and professor Tiziana Di Matteo is busy unraveling the history of the universe over in the physics department.

So, while we sing the praises of our brightest young star, The Tartan wants to congratulate all university researchers, without whom this institution would not be the center for collaboration and interdisciplinary thought that it is.