WST Co-Founder Receives ACM A.M. Turing Award

Inventor of World Wide Web and Web Science Trust co-founder, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has been awarded the ACM A.M. Turing Award.

Timbls message @WebSci10
Timbls message @WebSci10/©2016 WST

As Web researchers gather at the annual World Wide Web Conference in Perth, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the recipient of the 2016 ACM A.M. Turing Award. Berners-Lee, a Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Honorary Professor at the University of Southampton, was cited for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale.

In 1989 Berners-Lee proposed a global hypertext project, to be known as the World Wide Web. Based on the earlier “Enquire” work, it was designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents. He wrote the first World Wide Web server, “httpd“, and the first client, “WorldWideWeb” a what-you-see-is-what-you-get hypertext browser/editor which ran in the NeXTStep environment. This work was started in October 1990, the program “WorldWideWeb” first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet at large on 6 August 1991 – when the world’s first website, http://info.cern.ch was launched.

In 2004, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work. Named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century, Berners-Lee was honoured as the “Inventor of the World Wide Web” during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, in which he appeared in person, working with a vintage NeXT Computer at the London Olympic Stadium. He tweeted “This is for everyone”, which was spelled out in  lights around the stadium.

Central to the universal adoption of the World Wide Web was Berners-Lee’s decision to develop it as open and royalty-free software. Berners-Lee released his libwww software package in the early 1990s, granting the rights to anyone to study, change, or distribute the software in any way they chose. He has continued to guide the project and work with developers around the world to develop web-server code. The popularity of the open source software led to the evolution of early web browsers that are credited with propagating the Web beyond academic and government research settings and making it a global phenomenon.

With the founding of the Web Science Research Initiative (later Web Science Trust) in 2006, Berners-Lee was instrumental in the establishment of Web Science as a multi-disciplinary academic field, and the institution of the annual International ACM Web Science Conference. To mark the 10th anniversary of Web Science he sent a message to via our TV Channel, focussing on the importance and urgency of the research in the field.

The ACM Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing. The award will be presented the ACM Awards Banquet on June 24 in San Francisco, California.

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