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Tim Berners-Lee Collects Ultimate Technology Accolade

Tim Berners-Lee Collects Ultimate Technology Accolade

  • "Semantic Web" Is Getting Closer and Closer, Says Tim Berners-Lee

    "Tim Berners-Lee's invention perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the Prize. The Web is encouraging new types of social networks, contributing to transparency and democracy, and opening up new avenues for information management and business development," said Pekka Tarjanne, chairman of the jury and former Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

    The occasion was the award ceremony in which the father of the WWW received one million Euros in recognition of his invention back in Christmas 1990, when he first got his "World Wide Web" browser/editor working on his machine and one belonging to CERN colleague Robert Cailliau, so that the two of them were able to communicate over the Internet with the info.cern.ch server. 

    The award ceremony took place in Finland, at Helsinki's Finlandia Hall, held in conjunction with the inaugural Millennium Technology Conference, "Future Society - Future Technology."

    Berners-Lee was selected unanimously out of a field of 78 innovators from 22 countries for "an innovation that directly promotes people's quality of life, is based on humane values and encourages sustainable economic development."

    In his book Weaving the Web, the inventor of the WWW, Berners-Lee tried to answer questions that had been thrown at him again and again ever since  Questions such as "What were you thinking when you invented it?" through "So what do you think of it now?" to "Where is this all going to take us?"

    He didn't anticipate, even in 1999 when the book was published, that technologies like HTML, HTTP, and XML would take him just four years later to a knighthood, and now to this $1.2 million award, already known informally as the "Finnish Nobel Prize."

    "The original idea of the Web," Berners-Lee has always said, "was that it should be a collaborative space where you can communicate through sharing information. The idea was that by writing something together, and as people worked on it, they could iron out misunderstanding."

    In 1994, he founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) a not-for-profit forum that aims to lead the Web to its full potential. Now Boston-based, heading up the W3C, he became Sir Tim Berners-Lee earlier this year when knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

    "All sorts of things, too long for me to list here, are still out there waiting to be done." Berners-Lee said today, in his acceptance speech. "There are so many new things to make, limited only by our imagination. And I think it's important for anybody who's going through school or college wondering what to do, to remember that now."  

    The Finnish Technology Award Foundation is an independent fund established in 2002 by eight Finnish organizations. Berners-Lee is the first ever Millennium Technology Prize recipient.

  • More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

    Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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