Tim Berners-Lee

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Sir Timothy Berners-Lee

Born (1955-06-08) 8 June 1955 (age 68)[1]
EducationQueen's College, Oxford
OccupationComputer scientist
Employer(s)World Wide Web Consortium and University of Southampton
Known forInventing the World Wide Web
Parent(s)Conway Berners-Lee, Mary Lee Woods
WebsiteTim Berners-Lee
Holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS (born 8 June 1955) is the English inventor of the World Wide Web and he created a new computer language called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) which most web pages are written in. The first web page was available on 6 August 1991.

Berners-Lee now leads the World Wide Web Consortium. That is an organization that looks after the World Wide Web. He is the author of the book Weaving the Web. He is a director of The Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. In April 2009, he was elected as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, based in Washington, D.C. In 1999, Time Magazine named Berners-Lee one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. In March 2000 he was awarded an honorary degree from the Open University as Doctor of the university.

Early life[change | change source]

Tim Berners-Lee was born in London, on 8 June 1955. He is the son of Conway Berners-Lee and Mary Lee Woods. First, he attended Sheen Mount primary school. Then he went on to Emanuel School in London, from 1969 to 1973. After that, he studied at Queen's College, Oxford, from 1973 to 1976. While he was there, he received a first-class degree in Physics.

Career[change | change source]

In 1989, while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, Tim 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, and the program "WorldWideWeb" first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet at large in the summer of 1991.

Through 1991 and 1993, Tim continued working on the design of the Web, coordinating feedback from users across the Internet. His initial specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined and discussed in larger circles as the Web technology spread.

Tim Berners-Lee graduated from the Queen's College at Oxford University, England, 1976. Whilst there he built his first computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television.

He spent two years with Plessey Telecommunications Ltd (Poole, Dorset, UK) a major UK Telecom equipment manufacturer, working on distributed transaction systems, message relays, and bar code technology.

In 1978 Tim left Plessey to join D.G Nash Ltd (Ferndown, Dorset, UK), where he wrote among other things typesetting software for intelligent printers, and a multitasking operating system.

A year and a half spent as an independent consultant included a six-month stint (Jun-Dec 1980) as consultant software engineer at CERN. Whilst there, he wrote for his own private use his first program for storing information including using random associations. Named "Enquire" and never published, this program formed the conceptual basis for the future development of the World Wide Web.

From 1981 until 1984, Tim worked at John Poole's Image Computer Systems Ltd, with technical design responsibility. Work here included real time control firmware, graphics and communications software, and a generic macro language. In 1984, he took up a fellowship at CERN, to work on distributed real-time systems for scientific data acquisition and system control. Among other things, he worked on FASTBUS system software and designed a heterogeneous remote procedure call system.

In 1994, Tim founded the World Wide Web Consortium at the then Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) which merged with the Artificial Intelligence Lab in 2003 to become the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since that time he has served as the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium a Web standards organization which develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. The Consortium has host sites located at MIT, at ERCIM in Europe, and at Keio University in Japan as well as Offices around the world.

In 1999, he became the first holder of 3Com Founders chair at MIT. In 2008 he was named 3COM Founders Professor of Engineering in the School of Engineering, with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at CSAIL where he also leads the Decentralized Information Group (DIG). Co-Chaired by Dr. Lalana Kagal, the DIG Research Group works on projects including: how to re-decentralize the Web and help radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership; working to ensure the rights of users in big data and analytics and systems; as well as harnessing mobile technologies to aid during disaster relief and help society. In 2016, Sir Tim joined the Computer Science Department at the University of Oxford as a professor.

In 2008 he founded and became Director of the World Wide Web Foundation. The Web Foundation is a non-profit organisation devoted to achieving a world in which all people can use the Web to communicate, collaborate and innovate freely. The Web Foundation words to fund and coordinate efforts to defend the Open Web and further its potential to benefit humanity.

In June 2009 then Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that he would work with the UK Government to help make data more open and accessible on the Web, building on the work of the Power of Information Task Force. Sir Tim was a member of The Public Sector Transparency Board tasked to drive forward the UK Government's transparency agenda. He has promoted open government data globally, is a member of the UK's Transparency Board.

In 2011 he was named to the Board of Trustees of the Ford Foundation, a globally oriented private foundation with the mission of advancing human welfare. He is President of the UK's Open Data Institute which was formed in 2012 to catalyse open data for economic, environmental, and social value.

He is the author, with Mark Fischetti, of the 1999 book "Weaving the Web" on the past, present and future of the Web.

On March 18 2013, Sir Tim, along with Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreesen, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for "ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity."

On 4 April 2017, Sir Tim was awarded the ACM A.M. Turing Prize for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale. The Turing Prize, called the "Nobel Prize of Computing" is considered one of the most prestigious awards in Computer Science.

Awards[change | change source]

World Wide Web Hall of Fame
Kilby Foundation's "Young Innovator of the Year" Award
ACM Software Systems Award (co-recipient), Honorary Prix Ars Electronica Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
Awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) and the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award
Duddell Medal of the Institute of Physics Interactive Services Association's Distinguished Service Award, MCI Computerworld/Smithsonian Award for Leadership in Innovation, International Communication Institute's Columbus Prize
Charles Babbage award, Mountbatten Medal of the National Electronics Council, Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Prize from the Foundation for Science and Technology, PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award in Technical Excellence, MacArthur Fellowship, The Eduard Rhein Technology Award, Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers
Named "One of the greatest minds of the century" by Time Magazine, World Technology Award for Communication Technology, Honorary Fellowship of the The Society for Technical Communications
Paul Evan Peters Award of ARL, Educause and CNI Electronic Freedom Foundation's Pioneer Award, George R Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award, American Computer Museum Special Award for Outstanding Contribution of the World Television Forum
Sir Frank Whittle Medal, the Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow, Royal Society Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Japan Prize, the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan, Prince of Asturias Foundation Prize for Scientific and Technical Research (shared with with Larry Roberts, Rob Kahn and Vint Cerf) Fellow of the Guglielmo Marconi Foundation, Albert Medal of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Art, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
The Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS)
Computer History Museum Fellow Award
Knighted (KBE) by H.M. the Queen for services to the global development of the Internet, Millennium Technology Prize Special Award of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Member of the American Philosophical Society
Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service for Mass Communications, Die Quadriga Award, Financial Times Lifetime Achievement Award
President's Medal, the Institute of Physics
Awarded the Order of Merit by H.M. the Queen, Charles Stark Draper Prize, National Academy of Engineering Lovelace Medal, British Computer Society D&AD President's Award for Innovation and Creativity, MITX (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange) Leadership Award, Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Engineering
BITC Award for Excellence
IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award Fellow, IEEE Pathfinder Award, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, Given the title of Royal Designer by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce, Webby Awards Lifetime Achievement Award
UNESCO Niels Bohr Gold Medal Award
The Mikhail Gorbachev Award
DAMA Web Awards, Bilbao Web Summit
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Internet Hall of Fame, Innovation 101 Lifetime Achievement Award
Sultan Qaboos Order for Culture, Science and Arts (First Class)
DNA Summit Lifetime Achievement Award
Shared the Queen Elizabeth II Prize for Engineering with Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreessen. Visionary of the Year Award, Society for New Communication Research.
Honorary Freedom of the City of London, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute
Pride of Britain "Special Award for Outstanding Achievement"
Webby award for Lifetime Achievement
Public Knowledge IP3 Award
Bradford Wasburn Award, Museum of Science, Boston
Mohammed bin Rashid Knowledge Award (with Jimmy Wales)
Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize, Zurich, Switzerland
The 1st class Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Republic of Estonia
John Maynard Keynes Prize
ACM A.M. Turing Prize, San Francisco, California
Honorary Degrees:
Parsons School of Design, New York (D.F.A., 1995)
Southampton University (D.Sc., 1995) Essex University (D.U., 1998) Southern Cross University (PhD, 1998) Open University (D.U., 2000) Columbia University (D.Law, 2001) Oxford University (D.Sc., 2001) University of Port Elizabeth (DSc., 2002) Lancaster University (D.Sc., 2004) Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Dr. Hon. 2008)
University of Manchester (D.Sc., 2008)
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Dr. Hon. 2009) University of Liege (Dr. Hon. 2009)
VU University Amsterdam (Dr. Hon., 2009)
Harvard University (D.Sc., 2011)
University of the Arts, London (Dr. Hon., 2012)
University of St. Andrews (Dr. Hon., 2013)
Yale University, (Doctor of Engineering and Technology, 2014)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, D.Sc

Selected Publications[change | change source]

Berners-Lee, T.J., et al., "", Electronic Publishing: Research, Applications and Policy, April 1992.

Berners-Lee T.J., et al, "", Communications of the ACM, Volume 37 Issue 8, August 1994, Pages 76-82

Tim Berners-Lee with Mark Fischetti, Harper San Francisco, 1999

Tim Berners-Lee, Dan Connolly, Ralph R. Swick "", W3C Note, 1999/6-7.

Berners-Lee, Tim. and Hendler, James "", Nature, April 26 2001 p. 1023–1025.

Berners-Lee, Tim; Hendler, James and Lassila, Ora "", Scientific American, May 2001, p. 29-37.

James Hendler, Tim Berners-Lee and Eric Miller, '', Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan,

Vol 122(10), October, 2002, p. 676-680

Hendler, J., Berners-Lee, T.J., and Miller, E., ' ', Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan, Vol 122(10), October, 2002, p. 676-680.

Nigel Shadbolt, Wendy Hall, Tim Berners-Lee, "", IEEE Intelligent Systems Journal, May/June 2006, pp 96-101

, 12th-13th September, 2005. Hosted by the British Computer Society, London

Tim Berners-Lee, Wendy Hall, James Hendler, Nigel Shadbolt, Daniel J. Weitzner, Science Vol. 313, 11 August 2006, pp. 769-771

Tim-Berners Lee, Wendy Hall, James A. Hendler, Kieron O'Hara, Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel J. Weitzner, Foundations and Trends in Web Science, Volume 1, Issue 1 (also available as a book: ISBN 1-933019-33-6 144pp September 2006)

Nigel Shadbolt, Tim Berners-Lee "", Scientific American, Vol. 299, No. 4, P. 76, October 2008

Christian Bizer, Tom Heath, Tim Berners-Lee, "" (pdf), International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems (IJSWIS), 5(3): 1-22. DOI: 10.4018/jswis.2009081901, 2009

Tim Berners-Lee, ", Scientific America, Vol. 22, November 2010

(See a full list of publications)

Education[change | change source]

The Queen's College, Oxford University, England, BA Hons (I) Physics, 1973–1976.

Emanuel School, London 1969–73

Born London, England, 8 June 1955. Married to Rosemary Leith.