Luis von Ahn is the new holder of the A. Nico Habermann development chair in computer science, which is awarded every three years to a junior faculty member of unusual promise in the School of Computer Science.
Von Ahn, who joined the Computer Science Department faculty in 2006 after receiving his PhD in 2005, has pioneered an area of computer science called "human computation," which uses computers to tap the abilities of thousands or millions of people to solve problems that computers can't solve by themselves. Through his efforts, for instance, people now digitize books when they solve reCAPTCHA Internet security puzzles and improve image searches by playing the online ESP Game.
The Habermann chair, endowed in 1998, was established in memory of the school's first dean and the long-time CSD head. Habermann believed in recognizing and supporting outstanding young faculty members early in their careers. Previous holders of the chair are Andrew Moore, James D. Herbsleb and Jodi Forlizzi.
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