Computer Pioneers: Tim Berners-Lee

by techtiptom

Originally posted on WIBC.com on 10/05/2010:

Invented the Web – WWW. Developed URL and HTTP…

Tim Berners-Lee graduated from the Queen’s College at Oxford University, England, 1976. While there he built his first computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television.

He spent two years with Plessey Telecommunications Ltd (Poole, Dorset, UK) a major UK Telecom equipment manufacturer, working on distributed transaction systems, message relays, and bar code technology.

In 1978 Tim left Plessey to join D.G Nash Ltd (Ferndown, Dorset, UK), where he wrote among other things typesetting software for intelligent printers, and a multitasking operating system.

A year and a half spent as an independent consultant included a six month stint (Jun-Dec 1980)as consultant software engineer at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. While there, he wrote for his own private use his first program for storing information including using random associations. Named “Enquire”, and never published, this program formed the conceptual basis for the future development of the World Wide Web.

From 1981 until 1984, Tim worked at John Poole’s Image Computer Systems Ltd, with technical design responsibility. Work here included real time control firmware, graphics and communications software, and a generic macro language. In 1984, he took up a fellowship at CERN, to work on distributed real-time systems for scientific data acquisition and system control. Among other things, he worked on FASTBUS system software and designed a heterogeneous remote procedure call system.

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, “WorldWideWeb” a what-you-see-is-what-you-get hypertext browser/editor which ran in the NeXTStep environment. This work was started in October 1990, and the program “WorldWideWeb” first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet at large in the summer of 1991.

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

In 1994, Tim founded the World Wide Web Consortium at the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since that time he has served as the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium which coordinates Web development worldwide, with teams at MIT, at INRIA in France, and at Keio University in Japan. The Consortium takes as its goal to lead the Web to its full potential, ensuring its stability through rapid evolution and revolutionary transformations of its usage. The Consortium may be found at http://www.w3.org/.

In 1999, he became the first holder of the 3Com Founders chair at LCS, and is now a Senior Research Scientist within the Lab. The Lab merged with the AI lab to became “CSAIL”, the Computer Science and Artificail Intelligence Laboratory at MIT.

On April 14, 2004; he received the Knighthood of the British Empire (KBE) for services to the global development of the Internet.

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