​Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee wins top computing prize

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Web founder Tim Berners-Lee, shown here in 2014, has been honored with the A.M. Turing Award.


Stephen Shankland/CNET

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web less than three decades ago, has won the top computing industry prize just as his wildly successful invention is challenged by new mobile technology.

The Association of Computing Machine granted Berners-Lee the 2016 A.M. Turing Award on Tuesday, an honor that carries a $1 million prize as well as plenty of prestige. It’s named for Alan Turing, the UK researcher who helped to crack Germany’s Enigma code in World War II and who was instrumental in conceiving of the fundamental design of computers.

Berners-Lee created the web’s two seminal components: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the rules for describing how to construct a web page, and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), which governs how a web browser fetches a web page from a website. He also came up with the URL — Uniform Resource Locator — that gives everything on the web an address. Together, the three technologies mean you can click or tap hyperlinks to hop endlessly across the world’s gargantuan repository of information.

Some of the ideas had been kicking around academia, but Berners-Lee refined them and transformed them into something practical: a way for researchers at the CERN particle accelerator laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, to share information. That foundation has grown dramatically, making possible phenomena like Google’s search engine Facebook’s social…

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