It only took them a few decades … Tim Berners-Lee, father of the Internet, has finally been honored with the million-dollar Turing Award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for his significant and lasting contributions to computing.
It's a huge understatement to call his contributions "significant and lasting." In 1980, working at CERN in Geneva, Berners-Lee created hypertext and hyperlinks – the idea of text that contains clickable links to other text. The entire Web we know and (sometimes) love is predicated on this concept.
In 1989, after several years working on early computer networking, he started to combine the ideas of hypertext, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the domain name system into a distributed information system he called the World Wide Web.
To access this information, he built the world's first Web browser, called WorldWideWeb, which allowed users to view and change pages on the Web. It was a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, meaning users could author Web pages without having to work directly in the code.
In 1991, he published the world's first Web page, which is still online at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/Summary.html – it described the purpose of this "easy but powerful global information system" and showed visitors how to set up their own Web pages and servers.
Perhaps most importantly, Berners-Lee was adamant that the Internet should be freely available to all mankind, enabling it to spread like wildfire through the 1990s and 2000s to the point where we're at today.
The Internet is one of mankind's most significant evolutionary leaps, putting the sum of human knowledge at virtually everyone's disposal. It has revolutionized communication, business, publishing, education and a thousand other industries to the point where it's hard to imagine how things worked before. It has changed the way we socialize and amuse ourselves. It's a monstrously powerful tool, and a heinous distraction all in one. Berners-Lee's invention has indelibly changed the course of humanity, for better and worse.
The Turing award, and its Google-sponsored million dollar prize, is a small cherry on top of such a career.
Source: ACM Turing Award
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