Luis Von Ahn
Consulting and Professor at the Carnegie Mellon University
In honor and recognition of Spanish Heritage Month, We at Allaire Management Consulting Firm would like to take the time to recognize the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make in technology. Luis von Ahn of Guatemala developed the well-known cyber-security system CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) CAPTCHA is a randomly generated challenge-response test designed to help stop spam bots from accessing computer systems. Luis Von Ahn, a cofounder of the language-learning app created cyber-security technology as a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000. He gave the technology to Yahoo for free as the company was having issues with automated spammers.
Later, he and his former student, CMU alumnus Severin Hacker, invented Duolingo, a free service for learning languages that now boasts more than 300 million users worldwide. Last year, Duolingo became Pittsburgh’s first unicorn tech startup valued at more than $1 billion. Luis Von Ahn earned his Ph.D. in computer science at CMU in 2005 and has received numerous awards, including the 2018 Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention, a 2006 MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Grace Hopper Award. As a faculty member, he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, accepted Sloan Research and Packard fellowships, and was named to MIT Technology Review’s prestigious TR35 list of top young innovators.