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Created: December 31, 2003.
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W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee to Be Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Update 2004-07-16: "Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web, Knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Honored at Buckingham Palace for Services to Global Development of the Internet."

Announcements from Buckingham Palace and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) proclaim that Queen Elizabeth II will make Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director, a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). "The rank of Knight Commander is the second most senior rank of the Order of the British Empire, one of the Orders of Chivalry awarded. Tim Berners-Lee, 48, a British citizen who lives in the United States, is being knighted in recognition of his services to the global development of the Internet through the invention of the World Wide Web."

Berners-Lee responded: "This is an honor which applies to the whole Web development community, and to the inventors and developers of the Internet, whose work made the Web possible. I accept this as an endorsement of the spirit of the Web; of building it in a decentralized way; of making best efforts to keep it open and fair; and of ensuring its fundamental technologies are available to all for broad use and innovation, and without having to pay licensing fees. By recognizing the Web in such a significant way, it also makes clear the responsibility its creators and users share. Information technology changes the world, and as a result, its practitioners cannot be disconnected from its technical and societal impacts. Rather, we share a responsibility to make this work for the common good, and to take into account the diverse populations it serves."

From the Announcement

In 1980, while Berners-Lee worked as a consultant software engineer at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, he wrote for his own private use his first program for storing information using the kind of random associations the brain makes. The "Enquire" program -- which was never published -- formed the conceptual basis for the future development of the Web.

While at CERN in 1989, he 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, "World Wide Web," in October 1990. He also wrote the first version of the document formatting language with the capability for hypertext links, known as HTML.

The program "WorldWideWeb" was first made available within CERN in December 1990, and the first successful demonstration of the Web clients and servers working over the Internet was made that same month. All of his code was made available on the Internet at large in the summer of 1991.

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

In 1994, with encouragement and support from the late Michael Dertouzos, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS), Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium, where he presently serves as director. The W3C coordinates Web development worldwide, with teams at MIT's new Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), and Keio University in Japan. Its goal is to lead the Web to its full potential, ensuring its stability through rapid evolution and revolutionary transformations of its usage.

Berners-Lee, who was cited by Time Magazine in 1999 as one of the 100 greatest minds of the 20th century, is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001, and received the Japan Prize in 2002. He was also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998.

He has been awarded many honorary doctorates from universities around the world, including his alma mater (2001). At MIT, he is the holder of the 3Com Founders Chair, and holds the position of senior research scientist at CSAIL.

Berners-Lee is also the author of the book Weaving The Web (HarperCollins), published in 1999, which describes the Web's birth and evolution... [excerpted]

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Bio

Summary according to the BBC News, World Edition:

  • Born in London in 1955
  • Studied at Wandsworth's Emanuel School
  • Read physics at Queen's College, Oxford
  • Banned from using the university's computer when he and a friend were caught hacking
  • Built own computer with old TV, a Motorola microprocessor and soldering iron
  • Created web in late 1980s and early 1990s at Cern
  • Offered it free on the net
  • Previously awarded an OBE
  • In 1994 he founded World Wide Web Consortium at MIT
  • In 1999 he became first holder of the 3Com Founders chair
  • Time magazine named him one of the top 20 thinkers of the 20th Century

Related Story, April 23, 2004   W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee Awarded Millennium Technology Prize.    An announcement from the Finnish Technology Award Foundation describes the selection of Tim Berners-Lee by unanimous vote of the International Award Selection Committee as recipient of the first Millennium Technology Prize. A graduate of Oxford University, England, Tim Berners-Lee "holds the 3Com Founders chair at the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He directs the World Wide Web Consortium, an open forum of companies and organizations with the mission to lead the Web to its full potential." The Finnish Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every other year for innovation based on scientific research in any four disciplines: Health Care and Life Sciences, Communications and Information, New Materials and Processes, and Energy and the Environment. It is a technology award granted "for outstanding technological achievements that directly promote people's quality of life, are based on humane values, and encourage sustainable economic development." Berners-Lee was selected for the Millennium Technology Prize 2004 from a group of 78 nominees representing twenty-two countries and four continents. The Award Ceremony will be held on June 15, 2004 at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Finland. Ms Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland and Patron of the Millennium Technology Prize, has been invited to present the Prize, which carries a value of one million euros.

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