Web Inventor Wins $1.2 million Tech Prize

Jun 30, 2004

 Creator of the URL Receives Finnish Award

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee was named last month as recipient of the first-ever Millennium Technology Prize.


Tim Berners-Lee gave the World Wide Web to the world to use for all time for free. "The decision to make the Web an open system was necessary for it to be universal," he states. "Had the technology been proprietary it would probably not have taken off. You can't propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.

The honor, which is accompanied by a 1-million euro ($1.2 million) prize, is bestowed by the Finnish Technology Award Foundation as an international acknowledgement of outstanding technological innovation that directly promotes quality of life, is based on humane values and encourages sustainable economic development.

"The web has significantly enhanced many people's ability to obtain information central to their lives," says Pekka Tarjanne, former secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union and chairman of the International Award Selection Committee. "The Web is encouraging new types of social networks, supporting transparency and democracy, and opening up novel avenues for information management and business development."

Berners-Lee, with a background in system design in real-time communications and text-

processing software development, invented the Web while working at CERN, world's largest particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

 The web was first made available to the public in 1991. Berners-Lee created the first server, browser and protocols central to the operation of the Web: the URL address, HTTP transmission protocol and HTML code.

Currently Berners-Lee works at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Boston.

He was born in London in 1955 and graduated from Oxford University. In 2003, Berners-Lee was named a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his pioneering work.

Seventy-eight innovators from 22 countries were nominated for the Millennium Technology Prize 2004 in four technological fields: health care and life sciences; communication and information; new materials and processes; and energy and the environment.

The Finnish Technology Award Foundation is an independent fund established in 2002 and funded by the Finnish public and private sectors in partnership. Future prizes will be awarded biennially.