The inventor of the World Wide Web has won the so-called "Nobel Prize of computing."
The Association for Computing Machinery on Tuesday announced that Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Oxford Professor Tim Berners-Lee has won the prestigious A.M. Turing Award for 2016. Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web, along with the first web browser and other technologies that have allowed the web to scale.
The award — which was named for British mathematician Alan M. Turing, who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing — comes with a $1 million prize, provided by Google.
"I'm humbled to receive the namesake award of a computing pioneer who showed that what a programmer could do with a computer is limited only by the programmer themselves," Berners-Lee said in a statement. "It is an honor to receive an award like the Turing that has been bestowed to some of the most brilliant minds in the world."
Berners-Lee, who graduated from Oxford University with a degree in physics, submitted a proposal for the World Wide Web in 1989 while working at CERN, the European organization for nuclear research. As the story goes, he noticed that scientists were having a hard time sharing information via the internet, which was still in its infancy at the time. The system he envisioned would let staffers exchange documents using readable text and embedded hyperlinks.
In a statement, ACM President Vicki L. Hanson pointed out that the world's first website — http://info.cern.ch — went online in 1991, less than three decades ago.
"Although this doesn't seem that long ago, it is hard to imagine the world before Sir Tim Berners-Lee's invention," she said. "In many ways, the colossal impact of the World Wide Web is obvious. Many people, however, may not fully appreciate the underlying technical contributions that make the Web possible. Sir Tim Berners-Lee not only developed the key components, such as URIs [uniform resource identifiers] and web browsers that allow us to use the Web, but offered a coherent vision of how each of these elements would work together as part of an integrated whole."