W3C head Berners-Lee to be knighted

Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), will be named a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth of the U.K., the W3C announced last Wednesday.

The rank of Knight Commander is the second highest rank of the Order of the British Empire. Berners-Lee, 48, a U.K. citizen who lives in the U.S., is being knighted in recognition of his "services to the global development of the Internet" through the invention of the World Wide Web.

"This is an honor which applies to the whole Web development community, and to the inventors and developers of the Internet, whose work made the Web possible, " Berners-Lee said in a statement. "I accept this as an endorsement of the spirit of the Web; of building it in a decentralized way; of making best efforts to keep it open and fair; and of ensuring its fundamental technologies are available to all for broad use and innovation, and without having to pay licensing fees."

The London-born Berners-Lee graduated from Oxford University in 1976. As a student there, he built his first computer using a soldering iron, an old television and other parts.

In 1980, while Berners-Lee wrote the first program for storing information using the kind of random associations the brain makes. At the time, he worked as a consultant software engineer at CERN, often called the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva. The Enquire program -- which was never published -- formed the conceptual basis for the future development of the Web, according to the W3C.

While at CERN in 1989, he proposed a global hypertext project, designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a Web of hypertext documents. That hypertext project would become known as the World Wide Web. The program, WorldWideWeb, was first made available within CERN in December 1990, and all of Berners-Lee's code was made available on the Internet in the summer of 1991, according to information from the W3C.

In 1994, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium, where he presently serves as director. The W3C coordinates Web development worldwide, and its goal is to lead the Web to its full potential, ensuring its stability through rapid evolution and revolutionary transformations of its usage.

Berners-Lee joins several other U.K. citizens to be knighted, including rock guitarist Eric Clapton, actor Pete Postlethwaite and author Philip Pullman.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service

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