What makes Avril Lavigne Canada's most famous person? Researchers at Pantheon know.

In a web project launched last January at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), designers, engineers and scientists worked together to quantify fame by pulling data from Wikipedia and plugging it through two separate measures in order to come up with a score.

The team gathered data on 11,340 biographies that appeared in more than 25 language editions of the Internet encyclopedia as of May 2013. They then matched each biography to a country location using their birthdays and birthplaces.

The first measure, known as "L," is calculated by looking at the number of Wikipedia language editions available about a given person.

The second step, known as "Historical Popularity Index" (HPI), uses the "L" number in a process explained as follows:

"(It) combines information on the number of languages L, with the effective number of languages L*, the age of the historical character A, the number of PageViews in Non-English Wikipedias since 2008, and the coefficient of variation in PageViews in all languages between 2008 and 2013 CV."

Lavigne came in first with an HPI of 27.480, followed by Jim Carrey with 27.018, and Justin Bieber with 26.860. Canadian diva Celine Dion scored a 26.543 and Pamela Anderson achieved 26.435.

Check out the Canadians that Pantheon ranked as the most popular:

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  • 25) Lucy Maud Montgomery

    Author, "Anne of Green Gables"

  • 24) Shania Twain

    Singer, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman"

  • 23) Elisha Cuthbert

    Actress, "The Girl Next Door," "24"

  • 22) Donald Sutherland

    Actor, "The Hunger Games," "Don't Look Now"

  • 21) Dan Aykroyd

    Actor, "Saturday Night Live," "Coneheads"

  • 20) Rachel McAdams

    Actress, "The Notebook," "Mean Girls"

  • 19) Glenn Gould

    Pianist

  • 18) Ryan Reynolds

    Actor, "The Green Lantern," "The Proposal"

  • 17) Marshall McLuhan

    Philosopher behind the phrase, "The medium is the message."

  • 16) Alanis Morissette

    Musician behind songs such as "Ironic" and "You Oughta Know."

  • 15) Saul Bellow

    Nobel Prize-winning author of "Humboldt's Gift" and "Mr. Sammler's Planet."

  • 14) James Cameron

    Director of "Avatar," "Titanic" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."

  • 13) Hayden Christensen

    Actor, "Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones" and "Shattered Glass."

  • 12) Chris Benoit

    WWE wrestler.

  • 11) Neil Young

    Musician behind songs such as "Long May You Run," "Harvest Moon" and "Rockin' in the Free World."

  • 10) Nelly Furtado

    Singer behind tracks such as "Promiscuous" and "Give It to Me."

  • 9) Frank Gehry

    Architect Frank Gehry designed the Experience Music Project in Seattle, which is pictured here.

  • 8) Bryan Adams

    Musician behind songs such as "Summer of '69" and "Run To You."

  • 7) Michael J. Fox

    Actor in films such as the "Back to the Future" trilogy and TV series "Spin City."

  • 6) Leonard Cohen

    Singer-songwriter behind "Tower of Song" and "Everybody Knows."

  • 5) Pamela Anderson

    Actress on the TV series "Baywatch" and "Home Improvement" and films such as "Barb Wire" and "Borat."

  • 4) Céline Dion

    Singer behind such songs as "My Heart Will Go On" and "Love Can Move Mountains."

  • 3) Justin Bieber

    Singer behind "Baby" and this incredible deposition.

  • 2) Jim Carrey

    Actor and comedian who starred in the "Ace Ventura" movies and "Dumb and Dumber."

  • 1) Avril Lavigne

    Singer behind "Complicated" and "Girlfriend." Also, "ChAvril" fame.

CORRECTION: Pantheon has clarified that small differences in ranking are not statistically meaningful and should not be employed to draw conclusions about the popularity of people with similar scores. Researchers said that even though Avril Lavigne ranks first, the website is not claiming she is the most famous Canadian. Pantheon said her score is "statistically indistinguishable" from Leonard Cohen's, who was sixth-highest on the list.

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