The has announced Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the researcher credited with inventing the World Wide Web, as the recipient of the , one of the most prestigious awards in computer science.
Often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of Computing," the award is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing, and carries a $1 million prize provided by Google.
A principal investigator at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), with a joint appointment in the university's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Berners-Lee conceived of the Web in 1989 at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) as a way to enable scientists around the world to more easily share information with each other via the Internet. To that end, he developed and introduced a naming scheme (uniform resource identifiers, or URIs), a communications protocol (HTTP), and a markup language for creating Web pages (HTML). His open-source approach to creating the first Web browser and server is credited with helping catalyze the astonishingly rapid growth of the Web.
Today, Berners-Lee is founder and director of the (W3C), which sets technical standards for Web development, as well as the , which works to preserve the open Web as a public good and basic human right. He also holds a professorship at Oxford University and, as director of CSAIL's , has developed data systems and privacy-minded protocols such as which monitors the transmission of private data and enables people to examine how their personal information is being used by third parties. In addition, Berners-Lee heads up the ("social linked data") initiative, a project to "re-decentralize" the Web so that users are able to control their own data and make it available only to those applications they trust.
"The first-ever World Wide Web site went online in 1991," said ACM president Vicki L. 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."