Alexandru Ionuț Budișteanu

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Alexandru Ionuț Budișteanu
Alexandru Ionut Budisteanu profile picture Alexandru-Ionut-Budisteanu-2015-mugshot.jpg
BornAlexandru Ionut Budisteanu
(1993-12-01) December 1, 1993 (age 28)
Ramnicu Valcea
🏡 ResidenceRomania
🏳️ NationalityRomanian
💼 Occupation
🌐 WebsitePersonal website

Ionuț Alexandru Budișteanu (born 1 December 1993) is a Romanian child prodigy, known for his prolific activity in the field of Computer Sciences. He is the recipient of the 2013 Gordon E. Moore Award, the grand prize of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and an Ambassador of the Romanian Tourism.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania, Ionuț received his first computer at the age of 3, which he quickly learned how to play on.[2] He recalled that by the age of 4 he felt comfortable with gaming and was attached to his computer. After having played hundreds of games, he came up with the idea of making his own games in the 3rd grade, and became interested in 3D computer-generated imagery.[3] He started programming his first computer applications, and around the time he was 9 years old he stopped going out for play. As his passion deepened, pushing him into such episodes as falling asleep with his head on the keyboard at night, his parents did not disapprove of his work, as they thought he was spending time with a good reason.[2]

In his 9th grade, he was invited to assist the Turing Prize Awards held by the Association for Computing Machinery, where he also was awarded a prize. He was invited to start university studies early, as a student of the San Francisco University, an offer which he denied because he was "too young, too far away from [his] parents".[2] When Alexandru was in the 7th class grade, he has been accused for being a black hat hacker by a computer science teacher who wrote and submitted a request to ban him from the Computer Science classes.[4] The principal of the school did not approve the request. In the 11th class grade he moved his studies to another high school after a scandal was sparked when some teachers accused Ionut for sending insults via others teachers' email addresses. They claimed the emails were sent by Ionuț while exploiting the vulnerabilities of wireless routers. He strongly rejected these accusations, mentioning that he had explained these vulnerabilities at University of Babes Bolyai a few days earlier in front of an academic audience among whom there were some of his teachers. Due to the lack of standardized Simple Mail Transport Protocol, nowadays anybody with some computer knowledge could send fake emails to that teachers. In July 2013, the accusations got canceled by the principal of the former high school and moreover the teachers from the former high school honored Alexandru naming a Computer Science laboratory with his name.[3] In the 11th grade, he denied an internship offer from Google Switzerland, claiming that he wanted to work independently.[2][3] Apart from Computer Science, he was not particularly good at the other school subjects and was bullied by high school mates, as well as some of his teachers.[3]

He became particularly interested in technologies concerning artificial intelligence; he devised a computer program along with a specialised device which allows people who have lost their vision to vaguely distinguish forms and luminosities, by means of a chip placed on the tongue.[3] Later, he started work on a self-driving car, receiving sponsoring from the Dan Voiculescu Foundation, which had also been granting Ionuț a special scholarship for some time. He also won the first prize at the 2013 Intel Awards and MIT named an asteroid after him.[5]

Ionuț affirmed his firm belief in God,[3] having been raised as an Orthodox Christian, and was seen making the sign of the cross as his name was announced as the winner of the 2013 Intel Awards.[6]

During a television interview, he admitted he did not indulge almost at all in cultural or social activities throughout his high school years, focusing heavily on reading technical courses and academic papers, many freely available on the internet, after he finished studying the complete Computer Science high school curricula during 7th grade.[3] His literary culture is scarce[3] and he also stated he never dreams.[7] He is an advocate of open technologies, claiming that patents are harmful and hamper development and the enjoyment of technology by masses.

On July 7, 2014, he was awarded an honorary diplomatic passport in a ceremony organized by the Government of Romania.[8]

On October 2, 2014, Ionut was nominated as one of the most outstanding challengers who are leading world-class innovation from Central and Eastern Europe according to the New Europe 100 list.[9]

The 19-year-old scientist’s design for a low cost, self-driving car won first place and $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for high school students in May. The prototype signals the potential of manufacturing autonomous driving vehicles to the masses, costing only $4,000 to build as opposed to Google’s $75,000 self-driving car. Budisteanu, a student in Romania, used artificial intelligence technology and a mounted camera on the car to identify traffic lanes, curbs, cars and even people. Budişteanu said the high number of deaths from road traffic accidents, some 2.5 million in 2004, inspired him to create the automatic driving system. More than 85 percent of accidents are reportedly caused by driver errors. After winning the competition, the teenager received a message of congratulation from Romania’s Education Minister Remus Pricopie. The prototype signals the mainstream potential of autonomous driving vehicles.[10][11]

VisionBot affordable Pick and Place machines[edit]


Alexandru had been working on building and manufacturing affordable Pick and Place robots called VisionBot in his own "garage". These machines are used by electronic engineers to assembly circuit boards. He started this hardware business manufacturing VisionBots, but now he is looking to expand his company into software and hardware.[12]

Young Research Scholarship[edit]

On 23 May 2014, immediately after he arrived in Romania Ionut Budişteanu from the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair at Victoria Palace, the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta had initiated a scholarship program for Romanian Olympians. Initially the scholarship was named "Ionut Budisteanu Scholarships". At the official ceremony held at the Victoria Palace, on April 3, 2014, in the presence of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Ionut Budişteanu had signed the financing contract for "Young Researcher Scholarship". The scholarship, which has a total of 15 beneficiaries is dedicated to high school graduates with outstanding results achieved at the Olympics or international competitions for innovation, the Prime Minister said.[13][14]

Minor Planet 28854 Budisteanu[edit]

28854 Budisteanu (provisional designation: 2000 JP56) is a main-belt asteroid discovered on May 6, 2000 by LINEAR Program of MIT Lincoln Laboratory at the Socorro observatory site in New Mexico. The Minor Planet (28854) Budisteanu is named for Ionut Alexandru Budisteanu in recognition of achievement as a top award winner in the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a high school science competition of Society for Science & the Public and Intel Foundation.[15][16] At this competition, in 2013 Ionut Alexandru Budisteanu won also the Gordon E. Moore award - the grand award. More details about the 28854 Budisteanu minor planet can be accessed on the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center portal .

See also[edit]


  1. "Romanian Government".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Micul geniu din Hackerville care a cucerit SUA, retrieved 14 August 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Official recording of an interview of Ionuț Budișteanu on the cultural TV talkshow Profesioniștii
  4. Interviu Ionut Budisteanu "inclin foarte mult balanta spre a studia in Romania", retrieved 22 Aprilie 1013
  5. Recompensă: Un asteroid va primi numele Ionuț Budișteanu
  6. Intel Awards Winner 2013 - Ionut Budisteanu
  8. "Romanian Government Website".
  9. "Romannian online newspaper".
  15. "The International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center".
  16. "Romanian online newspaper".

External links[edit]

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