RealTime IT News

Father of the Web Wins Millennium Award

Almost 15 years after his work began on the first specifications for HTTP , HTML and URIs , Sir Tim Berners-Lee accepted Thursday the latest award thanking him for creating the World Wide Web (WWW).

Officials at the Finnish Technology Award Foundation named Berners-Lee its first recipient of the Millennium Technology Prize 2004 from a field of 77 technologists who's efforts "promotes people's quality of life, is based on humane values, and encourages sustainable economic development," according to the award's prerequisites.

The Finnish organization award also comes with a $1 million prize, funded by the private and public sectors of the country.

Pekka Tarjanne, chairman of the award committee that unanimously approved the award and former International Telecommunications Union (ITU) secretary general, said in a statement Berners-Lee's accomplishments have significantly enhanced the ability for people around the world to obtain "information central to their lives."

"The Web is encouraging new types of social networks, supporting transparency and democracy, and opening up novel avenues for information management and business development," he stated.

Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) he founded in 1994 to standardize Web development, was not available for comment on the award at press time. Last year, the inventor was named a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his efforts to open up the Internet.

It's hard to overlook the importance of his work: in 1969, the Internet was created, not by Al Gore but by the Department of Defense's ARPANET project, an experiment to explore alternate communications methods in the wake of a nuclear attack. Today, because of Berner-Lee's initial specifications and efforts to get everyone else to use the same protocols on their Web servers, three-quarters of America goes online to look for more information on healthcare.

Berners-Lee will be formally awarded in a ceremony June 15 at the Finnish organization's inaugural conference.