Paul Allen Invests In A Massive Project To Make Wikipedia Better

paul allenForbes estimates Allen’s net worth at $14.2 billion.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Michael Sprague

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is backing the Wikidata project, which is part of the German chapter of the Wikimedia movement.Wikidata is a new project with a big goal. It wants to be a collaboratively edited database of all of the world’s knowledge. It will be used to make Wikipedia entries more accurate by sourcing better data. It will also make it easier to manage the 90,000 volunteers.

“Wikidata is ground-breaking. It is the largest technical project ever undertaken by one of the 40 international Wikimedia chapters,” Pavel Richter,┬áCEO of Wikimedia Deutschland, said in a statement.

The technology should also make it easier to group edit lists and charts based on that data, so there’s interest from the government, science, and other sectors to use it to publish data under a free Creative Commons licence.

Wikidata has landed 1.3 million Euros to fund its development, half of which comes from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. So Allen’s share adds up to about $860,000. The project is also being funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Program and Google.

The team will start to work on the initial development for Wikidata in April. They will work on it for a year, and then give the project to the Wikimedia Foundation by March 2012.

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