Von Ahn To Receive 2010 Carnegie Science Center Award

Byron SpiceThursday, January 28, 2010

Luis von Ahn, assistant professor of computer science, will receive the 2010 Carnegie Science Center Award for Information Technology and will be honored with other recipients at a May 7 ceremony at Carnegie Music Hall.

The Carnegie Science Center Awards, now in their 14th year, include awards in 19 categories. The awards recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania. The Information Technology Award recognizes innovation in the development and commercialization of an information technology-based solution resulting in significant business impact.

Von Ahn is being cited for the development of reCAPTCHA-an innovation that distinguishes human computer users from rogue Internet programs. The reCAPTCHA requires people to identify a distorted word before gaining access to a web site or registration page. By using words from old, pre-computer-age texts as the basis of these puzzles, reCAPTCHA not only enhances web site security, but simultaneously results in text being converted into machine-readable form. His spin-off company, ReCAPTCHA Inc., was purchased last year by Google Inc.

The Robotics Institute, the Entertainment Technology Center and Lenore Blum, professor of computer science, are among previous winners of Carnegie Science Center Awards from the School of Computer Science.

Three other Carnegie Mellon faculty members are being cited in this year's awards. Terrence Collins, professor of chemistry, received an honorable mention for the Catalyst Award; Alison Barth, associate professor of biological sciences, received an honorable mention for Emerging Female Scientist; and Gregory Lowry, professor of civil and environmental engineering and chemical engineering, received honorable mention in the environmental category.

For More Information

Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 | bspice@cs.cmu.edu