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Each year, the Turing Award — named for World War II codebreaker and British computer scientist Alan Turing — comes with a million-dollar prize, courtesy of Google. This year, it's due to the recipient that Google even exists.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a paper at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) titled, "Information Management: A Proposal." And while the title isn't particularly flashy, the outcome has captured the entire world's attention: the world wide web.
Originally, Berners-Lee was proposing a system to alleviate the problems created by the many different computers that CERN researchers used in their work.
It wasn't always called the world wide web, however. Berners-Lee also considered "Mine of Information," "The Information Mine" — which was discarded because of its acronym, TIM — and simply, "The Mesh." "World wide web" won out, despite the fact that early journalists wrote to him saying it wasn't really "WWW", but "WW," because worldwide was technically one word.
The web has changed significantly in the nearly three decades since its inception. When asked how he feels about the the threats to the web, including net neutrality, privacy and misinformation, Berners-Lee says, "I am optimistic." He also says the solutions are already beginning to be created but, "it's only gonna happen because lots of people care about [the web] very, very much. And that's not just people writing code."
You can also hear our interview with 2014 Turing Award recipient, Michael Stonebraker here.
This segment aired on April 4, 2017.
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- Tim Berners-Lee Wins $1 Million Turing Award
- Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor Of The Web, Plots A Radical Overhaul Of His Creation
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