Sir Timothy (Tim) John Berners-Lee, KBE (TimBL or TBL) (b. June 8, 1955) is the inventor of the World Wide Web and head of the World Wide Web Consortium, which oversees its continued development.
Early life and career
Berners-Lee was born in London, England, and attended Emanuel School in Wandsworth. He is an alumnus of the Queen's College of Oxford University, where, interestingly, he built a computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television. It was also at Oxford where he was caught hacking with a friend and was banned from using the university computer soon after.
He worked at Plessey Telecommunications Limited in 1976 as a programmer, and in 1978 he worked at D.G Nash Limited where he worked on typesetting software and an operating system.
Proposal and prototype
In 1980, while an independent contractor at CERN, Berners-Lee proposed a project based on the concept of hypertext, to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers. With help from Robert Cailliau he built a prototype system named Enquire.
After leaving CERN to work at John Poole's Image Computer Systems Ltd, he returned in 1984 as a fellow. He used similar ideas that he used in Enquire to create the World Wide Web, for which he designed and built the first browser (called WorldWideWeb and developed on NeXTSTEP) and the first web server simply called httpd.
The first website
The first web site Berners-Lee built (and therefore the first web site) was at  (http://info.cern.ch/info.cern.ch) and was first put online on August 6, 1991. It provided an explanation about what the World Wide Web was, how one could own a browser, how to set up a web server, and so on. It was also the world's first web directory, since Berners-Lee maintained a list of other web sites apart from his own.
While the component ideas of the World Wide Web are simple, Berners-Lee's insight was to combine them in a way which is still exploring its full potential. But, perhaps his greatest single contribution was to make his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due. In 1994 he founded World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in 2003, the organization decided that their standards must be based on royalty-free technology, so they can be easily adopted by anyone.
Berners-Lee became the first holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT, and is now a Senior Research Scientist there. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. He received the Japan Prize in 2002.
On April 15, 2004 he was named as the first recipient of the Finland's Millennium Technology Prize for inventing the World Wide Web. The cash prize, worth one million euros (about £663,000 or USD$1.2 million), was awarded on June 15, in Helsinki, Finland by Tarja Halonen.
In 1997 he was created an Officer in the Order of the British Empire, and on July 16, 2004 he was given the rank of Knight Commander Queen Elizabeth II as part of the New Year's Honours. It is the second-highest rank in the Order of the British Empire.
Weaving the Web
In Berners-Lee's book Weaving the Web (ISBN 006251587X), several recurring themes are apparent:
It is just as important to be able to edit the web as browse it. (Wiki is a step in this direction, although Berners-Lee considers it merely a shadow of the WYSIWYG functionality of his first browser.)
Computers can be used for background tasks that enable humans to work better in groups.
Every aspect of the Internet should function as a web, rather than a hierarchy. Notable current exceptions are the Domain Name System and the domain naming rules managed by ICANN.
Computer scientists have a moral responsibility as well as a technical responsibility.