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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Some New Geniuses

The MacArthur Foundation named their 2006 Geniuses including
  • Luis von Ahn, Carnegie-Mellon cryptography, who has worked in steganography but best known for Captcha and The ESP Game.
  • Recent Fields Medalist Terence Tao.
  • Claire Tomlin, Stanford Aeronautical Engineer and Berkeley EECS Ph.D. From the announcement.
    Much of Tomlin's research concentrates on aeronautical applications of hybrid systems research, particularly aircraft flight control and air traffic conflict resolution. As the number of variables increases and their interactions become more complex, it becomes ever more difficult to guarantee that systems will always be within safe limits. Tomlin has developed practical algorithms for determining when unsafe conditions may arise, and for establishing feedback control laws for a hybrid system guaranteed to remain within a safe subset of all reachable states.
Congratulations to all!

7 comments:

  1. Go Luis! He was also named as one of popular science magazine's "Brilliant 10"

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  2. The selection of the geniuses (cryptography, aeronautics, ...) reminds me the next quote of famous applied mathematician VI Arnold.
    --
    All mathematics is divided into three parts: cryptography (paid for by CIA, KGB and the like), hydrodynamics (supported by manufacturers of atomic submarines) and celestial mechanics (financed by military and by other institutions dealing with missiles, such as NASA.).

    Cryptography has generated number theory, algebraic geometry over finite fields, algebra, combinatorics and computers.

    Hydrodynamics procreated complex analysis, partial derivative equations, Lie groups and algebra theory, cohomology theory and scientific computing.

    Celestial mechanics is the origin of dynamical systems, linear algebra, topology, variational calculus and symplectic geometry.

    The existence of mysterious relations between all these different domains
    is the most striking and delightful feature of mathematics (having no rational explanation).

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  3. All mathematics is divided into three parts: cryptography (paid for by CIA, KGB and the like), hydrodynamics (supported by manufacturers of atomic submarines) and celestial mechanics (financed by military and by other institutions dealing with missiles, such as NASA.).

    That's really witty! You might have THOUGHT that mathematics is divided into algebra, analysis, and geometry. But no, in case any one was suspicious that mathematics lacks military applications, it ACTUALLY divides into cryptography, hydrodynamics, and celestial mechanics!

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  4. Luis is also the youngest of this year's geniuses, at 27.

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  5. Of all the MacArthur fellows this year, electrical engineer Jim Fruchterman has arguably embraced the single most world-changing idea, namely, the innovative ownership structure of his Benetech Foundation.

    Benetech is a nonprofit foundation whose main asset is its wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, the engineering consulting company Benengineering.

    There's precedent for this trusted owneership mode (e.g., the Stanford Research Institute's sole ownership of the Sarnoff Corporation), but Dr. Fruchterman's foundation is pushing this model into new realms.

    It's pretty clear that Benetech exists at the intersection of capitalism, socialism, game theory, information theory, fundamental science, advanced engineering, and—most important of all—planetary-scale job creation.

    This kind of innovation is well-deserving of a MacArthur award, IMHO.

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  6. Claire Tomlin teaches at Stanford, has a Berkeley PhD, a Masters from Imperial College, London, and a Bachelors from the University of Waterloo.

    This is a different country for each: Canada, UK, People's Republic of Berkeley and USA.

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  7. Also David Macauley, who's written some great children's books tailor-made for developing future scientists and engineers.

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