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Home > iSGTW 09 April 2008 > iSGTW Link of the week - The world's most powerful computer


Link of the week - The world’s most powerful computer?

Luis von Ahn explains some brilliantly simple ways of harnessing the human mind for sophisticated computing.
Image courtesy of Google engEDU, larger version online

Luis Von Ahn thinks he could build the Empire State Building in 6.8 hours, or the Panama canal in less than a day.

King of the CAPTCHA, Von Ahn’s research interests include encouraging people to work for free, catching cheaters online, and exploiting the parasitic relationship he says humans have with computers.

“Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs,” Von Ahn writes. “This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve.”

Where many of us would turn to new and sophisticated software, Von Ahn thinks we each come pre-packaged with the software—and, it seems, the time—to perhaps even change the world.

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