Tim Berners Lee


Tim Berners Lee was born on 8 June 1955 and grew up in London. He studied physics at Oxford University and then became a software engineer.

In 1980, while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, he first described the concept of a global system, based on the concept of 'hypertext', that would allow researchers anywhere to share lots of information. He also built a prototype called 'Enquire'.

In 1984, Berners Lee's returned to CERN, which was also the main base for a major European Internet node. In 1989, Berners Lee published a paper called 'Information Management: A Proposal' in which he linked up hypertext with the Internet, to create a system for sharing and distributing information not just in a company, but worldwide. He named it the World Wide Web.

He also created the first web browser and editor. The world's first website, http://info.cern.ch. It was launched on 6 August 1991. It explained the World Wide Web concept and gave users an introduction to getting started with the making of their own websites.

In 1994, Berners Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium at the Laboratory of Computer Science (LCS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. He has served as director of the consortium since then. He also works as a senior research scientist at LCS which has now become the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Tim Berners Lee has significantly changed the way we live today.

Alan Turing


Alan Turing was born on 23 June, 1912, in London. His father was in the Indian Civil Service and Turing's parents lived in India until his father's retirement in 1926. Turing and his brother stayed with friends and relatives in England. Turing studied mathematics at Cambridge University, and subsequently taught there, working in the burgeoning world of quantum mechanics. It was at Cambridge that he developed the proof which states that automatic computation cannot solve all mathematical problems. This concept, also known as the Turing machine, is considered the basis for the modern theory of computation.

In 1936, Turing went to Princeton University in America, returning to England in 1938. He began to work secretly part-time for the British cryptanalytic department, the Government Code and Cypher School. On the outbreak of war he took up full-time work at its headquarters, Bletchley Park.

Here he played a vital role in deciphering the messages encrypted by the German Enigma machine, which provided vital intelligence for the Allies. He took the lead in a team that designed a machine known as a bombe that successfully decoded German messages. He became a well-known and rather eccentric figure at Bletchley.

After the war, Alan Turing turned his thoughts to the development of a machine that would logically process information. He worked first for the National Physical Laboratory (1945-1948). His plans were dismissed by his colleagues and the lab lost out on being the first to design a digital computer. It is thought that Turing's blueprint would have secured them the honour, as his machine was capable of computation speeds higher than the others. In 1949, he went to Manchester University where he directed the computing laboratory and developed a body of work that helped to form the basis for the field of artificial intelligence. In 1951 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1952, Turing was arrested and tried for homosexuality, then a criminal offence. To avoid prison, he accepted injections of oestrogen for a year, which were intended to neutralise his libido. In that era, homosexuals were considered a big security risk as they were open to blackmail. Turing's security clearance was withdrawn, meaning he could no longer work for GCHQ, the post-war successor to Bletchley Park.

He sadly committed suicide on 7 June, 1954.

He has also hugely changed how we live today.