Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, wins ‘computing’s Nobel Prize’

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Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, has been honored with the 2016 Turing Award.

The award, which is often referred to as the Nobel Prize for the computing industry, is present annually by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to an individual who made “major contributions of lasting importance to computing.” It is named in honor of British mathematician and scientist Alan Turing and backed by a $1 million prize courtesy of Google.

Britain-born Berners-Lee, who was honored with a knighthood in 2003, pioneered the web in 1989 while working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, as a way to allow scientists across the world to share information. His credits include the creation of a naming scheme (URIs), a communications protocol (HTTP) and a language for webpages (HTML). In addition, he coded the first browser using open-source — that helped develop early browsers like Mosaic which popularized the web beyond the world of academia.

“The first-ever World Wide Web site went online in 1991. Although this doesn’t seem that long ago, it is hard to imagine the world before Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention,” ACM President Vicki L. Hanson said in a statement.

“In many ways, the colossal impact of the World Wide Web is obvious. Many people, however, may not fully appreciate the underlying technical contributions that make the Web possible. Sir Tim Berners-Lee not only developed the key components, such as URIs and web browsers that allow us to use the Web, but offered a coherent vision of how each of these elements would work together as part of an integrated whole,” Hanson added.

The award will presented to Berners-Lee, who is founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the World Wide Web Foundation, at the ACM’s annual banquet in San Francisco on June 24.

“I’m humbled to receive the namesake award of a computing pioneer who showed that what a programmer could do with a computer is limited only by the programmer themselves,” Berners-Lee told MIT, where he is a senior researcher and holder of the founders chair at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, known as ‘Fathers of the Internet’ for their creation of the TCP/IP protocol, are among previous recipients of the Turing Award, which was first awarded in 1966.

Despite the scale of the web today doing undoubted good in the world, Berners-Lee has his concerns for the future. In an interview with the BBC, he was critical of UK government’s push to weaken encryption to battle terrorism, U.S. legislation that could allow ISPs to sell user browser histories, and the FCC Chairman’s pledge to roll back net neutrality regulations.

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