Five internet pioneers have shared the first £1 million Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is among those who will receive the prize from the Queen at a ceremony in June.
He is joined by Marc Andreessen, who co-wrote the world's first web browser Mosaic. Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf, who built the TCP and IP protocols upon which the internet functions and Louis Pouzin, upon whose research they work, round out the first group of winners.
Nicknamed the 'Nobel Prize of engineers', the Queen Elizabeth Prize was established to celebrate engineering work which is of 'global benefit to humanity'.
"It's like waking up from a dream and realising the geeks are winning," Cerf reportedly said at the announcement, via a Google Hangout.
Berners-Lee said on Twitter he was honoured to receive and share the prize:
On his blog Marc Andreessen said he was "humbled and grateful" and said his work was only possible thanks to Eric Bina, who co-wrote the code for Mosaic, "specifically all the difficult parts".
"I will donate the prize money to charitable programs that help spread the culture and foundational knowledge of engineering — such as scholarships and summer programs for engineering students.
It is amazing to think that the consumer Internet and the World Wide Web are still only 20 years old. So much important work has been done in the last 20 years — including bringing the Internet to more than 2 billion people around the world but also so much important work has yet to be done.
I firmly believe our field’s best days are still ahead of us, and I can’t wait to see what the next generation of engineers will accomplish.
The Prize committee said:
"Five engineers who created the internet and the World Wide Web… revolutionised the way we communicate and enabled the development of whole new industries.
Today a third of the world’s population use the Internet and it is estimated to carry around 330 Petabytes of data per year, enough to transfer every character ever written in every book ever published 20 times over."
The announcement was made by Lord Browne of Madingley at the Royal Academy of Engineering.
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