Von Ahn is an entrepreneur and Consulting Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. From Guatemala, he attended Duke University and received his bachelor’s in computer science in 2000. In 2006 he became a faculty member in computer science at CMU.
Von Ahn is one of the pioneers of what he calls “human computation,” which explores methods and software that combine human intelligence with computation to solve problems. Along with Manuel Blum, Von Ahn was instrumental in developing and popularizing CAPTCHAs, work that brought him public recognition as well as financial success. Throughout his career, Von Ahn has striven to combine powerful computing technology with natural human intelligence to find innovative ways to solve important problems using human capability and computers. Von Ahn also helped develop Duolingo, a popular foreign language instruction application that jointly teaches human students a new language, while also training computers to perform automatic translation. Such “dual-use” applications are part and parcel to Von Ahn’s human computation approach. Von Ahn is also one of the early adopters and promoters of the concept of crowdsourcing, where a “crowd”—many people online—can help answer questions and make decisions, such as predicting election results or even deciding to fund new ideas, a phenomenon known as “crowdfunding.”
Von Ahn is a successful entrepreneur, and made Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant 10,” as well as Fast Company’s “100 Most Innovative People in Business.”
Featured in Top Influential Computer Scientists Today
Private university in Durham, North Carolina, United Statesview profile
Private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United Statesview profile