CSC 100: The Beauty and Joy of Computing

Harnessing People-Power

This reading is a little different, in that it isn't actually a "reading." Other than a brief overview here, the main material is in the two videos below. Take notes when you watch the videos, keeping in mind the regular reading reflection questions. You are required to do a reading (video?) reflection just like you did for the other readings.

Luis von Ahn is a computer scientist and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was born in Guatemala, and has a North Carolina connection: he went to Duke University as an undergraduate. Luis is a creative thinker who is responsible for a lot of novel inventions, and his out-of-the-box thinking led to him being awarded a MacArthur Genius Award in 2006.

Luis' most famous work is in using the power of technology to harness human intelligence, directed at problems that are too difficult for computers to currently solve. His Ph.D. dissertation was on Games With A Purpose (or GWAP), in which useful work is done by humans who are playing games or solving puzzles. His work has become a part of Google Image Search, reCAPTCHA, and the duolingo language learning site.

Nova story on Luis von Ahn

The following video is about 10 minutes long, and provides a good overview to who Luis is and what he does.


Luis von Ahn talking about his work

The following video is about 17 minutes long. This is a "TED Talk" that Luis gave in which he talks about his work with reCAPTCHA as well as duolingo.