Great names of innovation: Tim Berners-Lee

Do you know what the acronyms HTTP, HTML, and WWW have in common? They are three technologies that help you to surf the internet, and I created them all.

“Hello, I’m Tim Berners-Lee, co-inventor of the World Wide Web.

Computing for me is a family matter. I was born in 1955 in London. My parents were mathematicians and worked on the first commercial computers.

When I was young, I spent whole days tinkering with miniature trains. When I was a student, I made my first computer using a telephone and an old television set.

In 1980, with my physics degree from Oxford under my belt, I joined CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva. At the time, the researchers were already using Internet but just for sending emails. Collaborative working could still be a real brain teaser. Determined to solve this problem, I wrote a program to centralize and update the center’s data. I called it ENQUIRE.

I could see further ahead: “What if the Internet were to become a place for the global scientific community to share and exchange?” My idea? To create a data management system from a network of hypertext links.
In 1989, I submitted my proposal to CERN who granted me the resources to further my research. I then worked with a small team to link the hypertext technology to the Internet.

Following this we simultaneously developed three essential bases of the web: web addresses (URL), HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and HyperText Markup Language (HTML). They were the framework for setting up the first ever browser: WorldWideWeb or WWW.

The program was put online onto the CERN internal network in December 1990 and onto the Internet several months later. In 1993, we made it royalty-free.

I developed the World Wide Web as a universal place for sharing. Over thirty years after it was first put online, I continue to promote a free, open, and neutral web. With my foundation, I take part in the fights against misinformation and for personal data protection.

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