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Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee gets Turing Award

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has been awarded the 2016 A.M. Turing Award, by the Association for Computing Machinery.

Called the Nobel Prize of Computing, the Turing Award is named for Alan M. Turing, a British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing.

Sir Tim, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford, was cited for his inventing the Web, the first Web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale.

This is the 50th year of the award and special ceremonies are being held to mark the occasion.

The award will be presented to Sir Tim on 24 June in San Francisco.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee: recognised for his unique contribution. Photos: Courtesy Wikipedia

Sir Tim graduated from Oxford University with a degree in physics. He put in a proposal for the Web in 1989 while he was employed at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, after noticing that scientists were having difficulty sharing information about particle accelerators.

At that time, interconnectivity between computers using TCP/IP had been in use for a decade. But while some part of the scientific community was using the Internet, there was a limit on the kinds of information that could be easily shared.

Sir Tim envisioned a system where CERN staff could exchange documents over the Internet using readable text that contained embedded hyperlinks.

He launched the world’s first website, http://info.cern.ch, on 6 August 1991.

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

"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.”

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.