Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Photo of Sir_Tim_Berners-Lee.jpg

Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while working as a software engineer at CERN, the large particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. Sir Tim understood the unrealized potential of millions of computers connected together through the Internet and envisioned the Web as a global information sharing space.

Sir Tim proposed what was to become the World Wide Web with a proposal specifying a set of technologies that would make the Internet truly accessible and useful to the world.. Despite initial setbacks and with perseverance, by October of 1990, he had specified the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s Web : HTML, URL, and HTTP.

He also wrote the first Web page editor/browser (“WorldWideWeb”) and the first Web server (“?httpd“). By the end of 1990, the first Web page was available. By 1991, people outside of CERN joined the new Web community, and in April 1993, from much encouragement from Sir Tim and his colleagues, CERN announced that the World Wide Web technology would be available for anyone to use on a royalty-free basis.

Since that time, the Web has changed the world, arguably becoming the most powerful communication medium the world has ever known. Whereas only just over one half of the people on the planet are currently using the Web the Web has fundamentally altered the way we teach and learn, buy and sell, inform and are informed, agree and disagree, share and collaborate, meet and love, and tackle problems ranging from putting food on our tables to curing diseases.

In 2009, Sir Tim recognized that the Web’s potential to empower people to bring about positive change remained unrealized by billions around the world. Announcing the formation of the World Wide Web Foundation, he once again confirmed his commitment to ensuring an open, free Web accessible and to all where people can share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance and communicate in creative ways. In 2012 Sir Tim co-founded the Open Data Institute with Sir Nigel Shadbolt, which seeks to show the value of open data, and to advocate for the innovative use of open data to affect positive change across the globe.

A graduate of Oxford University, Sir Tim is a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) andin the Computer Science Department at Oxford University.