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Opening Keynote - The Semantic Web

09/29/2004 8:40 AM Kresge
Tim Berners-Lee, 3Com Founders Professor of Engineering, MIT, Professor, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK, Director, World Wide Web Consortium;

Description: It's hard to keep up with the mastermind of the World Wide Web. In his fast-paced address, Tim Berners-Lee not only recaps the origins of the Internet, but sketches its future. The Web began as "a primeval soup of many things that know each other but haven't been put together," says Berners-Lee. In the late 1980s, he began experimenting with a way for fellow physicists to exchange information. According to Berners-Lee, the invention of uniform resource identifiers and hyper text markup language was critical to the Internet's phenomenal success. "HTML would be the warp and weft of the web, and within it, the jewels would be movies, and pictures and databases and 'other formats that would evolve." Here's what's coming: the "semantic web," a way of indexing and linking together different kinds of web content. He envisions computers becoming even more useful, deploying a common, non-proprietary "resource description framework" that enables them to draw connections between disparate sorts of information. "What's nifty", says Berners-Lee "is putting links between objects and even concepts. It allows a query on one database to morph into a query into others." He imagines the semantic web emerging as a "killer application" in the life sciences, where correlating data from different fields has become increasingly critical.

About the Speaker(s): A 1976 graduate of Oxford University, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing. Today he leads the World Wide Web Consortium, an open forum of companies and organizations with the mission to lead the Web to its full potential. Berners-Lee wrote the first web client (browser-editor) and server in 1990 while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Before coming to CERN, Tim worked with Image Computer Systems, of Ferndown, Dorset, England and before that as a principal engineer with Plessey Telecommunications, in Poole, England. Tim Berners-Lee has received numerous honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Charles Babbage award, the Electronic Freedom Foundation's pioneer award and the Japan Prize from the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan. In 2004 Tim was listed in the New Year's honors list for a knighthood (KBE) for services to the global development of the Internet and was awarded the first Millennium Technology Prize. He was knighted by H.M. the Queen on 16th July, 2004.

Host(s): Office of the Provost, Technology Review

Tape #: T19003

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MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

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