Timothy “Tim” Berners-Lee (1955 – ) is best known for building the World Wide Web. He began his work as the practical extrapolation of the theoretical works of Vannevar Bush and others. As he describes it, all the pieces were already in existence, “I just had to put them together.”
The pieces of the Web that Berners-Lee assembled were the CERN Internet and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that allowed pages to be layered, connected, and readable by any computer that could connect via an internet browser.
Unlike some of his peers, Berners-Lee published his web tools without copyright or royalties to allow anyone with the skills and equipment to build webpages and expand the Web. In recent years, he has served as a vocal advocate for the Net Neutrality movement.
Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2004, listed by TIME Magazine among the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, and has received many awards for his work, including the ACM Turing Award in 2016.
My occasional encounters with Tim led me to appreciate his devotion to creating a vibrant community (World Wide Web Consortium) that sets coding standards through rich deliberative processes. His 1989 manifesto for the Web thoughtfully laid out a bold vision that took the hypertext idea to a new level by allowing links to bring pages across the network from other computers. While I always appreciated his adopting and citing our HyperTies work on the selectable highlighted link, the Web’s lack of two-way links seemed dangerous; but Tim demonstrated that the benefits of open linking were greater than the annoyance of an occasional 404 message about a missing page. I always admired his energy, technical savvy, and continuing commitment to making the Web work. – Ben Shneiderman
- B.S. in Physics, Queen’s College, Oxford (1973 – 1976)
- Alliance for Affordable Internet (2013 – Present)
- President, Open Data Institute (2012 – Present)
- Adviser, Ford Foundation (2011 – Present)
- Member, Power of Information Taskforce (2008 – Present)
- Chair, Department of Computer Sciences, University of Southampton (2004 – Present)
- Founder, World Wide Web Consortium and Foundation (1994 – Present)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1994 – Present)
- Fellow, CERN (1984 – 1994)
- Image Computer Systems Ltd (1980 – 1984)
- Independent Contractor, CERN (1980)
- D.G Ltd. (1978 – 1980)
- Plessey Telecommunications (1976 – 1978)