Tim Berners-Lee

Inventor of the World Wide Web

President and Founder, Open Data Institute. Leader & Visionary in the Future of Technology


Named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Important People of the 20th Century,” one of the UK’s "100 Greatest Britons,” and one of the world's "Most Influential Thinkers,” Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the most powerful communication medium in the world — the World Wide Web — and gave it to the world for free.


Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while working as a software engineer at CERN, the large particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. With many scientists participating in experiments at CERN and returning to their laboratories around the world, these scientists were eager to exchange data and results but had difficulties doing so. Sir Tim understood this need, and understood the unrealized potential of millions of computers connected together through the Internet.

Sir Tim Berners Lee documented what was to become the World Wide Web with the submission of a proposal specifying a set of technologies that would make the Internet truly accessible and useful to people. Despite initial setbacks and with perseverance, by October of 1990, he had specified the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s Web (and which you may have seen appear on parts of your Web browser): HTML, URL, and HTTP.

He also wrote the first Web page editor/browser (“WorldWideWeb”) and the first Web server (“?httpd“). By the end of 1990, the first Web page was served. By 1991, people outside of ?CERN joined the new Web community, and in April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web technology would be available for anyone to use on a royalty-free basis.

Since that time, the Web has changed the world, arguably becoming the most powerful communication medium the world has ever known. Whereas only roughly one-third of the people on the planet are currently using the Web (and the Web Foundation aims to accelerate this growth substantially), the Web has fundamentally altered the way we teach and learn, buy and sell, inform and are informed, agree and disagree, share and collaborate, meet and love, and tackle problems ranging from putting food on our tables to curing cancer.

In 2007, Sir Tim Berners Lee recognized that the Web’s potential to empower people to bring about positive change remained unrealized by billions around the world. Announcing the formation of the World Wide Web Foundation, he once again confirmed his commitment to ensuring an open, free Web accessible and meaningful to all where people can share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance and communicate in creative ways.

A graduate of Oxford University, Sir Tim teaches at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a 3Com Founders Professor of Engineering and in a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at CSAIL. He is a professor in the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, UK, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and author of Weaving the Web and many other publications.

A Look Ahead Into the Future of Tech

When Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, he saw a future no one else could have imagined and changed our lives forever. Now he is looking ahead to our next, new un-imagined future. What does that look like? What will it mean for your business and our society? Sir Tim takes his audiences beyond the technology itself, for example - The Internet of Things, Future of Artificial Intelligence, The Next Web Paradigm Shift, The Power of Data, Impact of Security and Privacy on the Web and business and into the real transformative impact these technologies are having and will have in the years ahead.

Bold, New Tech Strategies for Business

Just to survive, every business needs to quickly adopt and adapt to changing technology. But to leapfrog over the competition, businesses need to use new technology as a source of innovation. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is an authority on tech innovation and how businesses can harness it for competitive advantage. In this speech, the tech futurist and guru offers insight into business strategies to innovate the way companies invest, connect with consumers better and faster, manage global projects, and use big data to make bold decisions. Sir Tim helps businesses think through how existing tech strategy will change as the next 3 billion users come on line, and the resulting changes in social media and market connectedness. Just as he did when he created the Web from a blank canvas, Sir Tim discusses the importance of innovation and creativity in a digital world. He also outlines how to embrace the Internet of Things and AI, corporate responsibility for cybersecurity, the role of the effective CTO, and the Board of Directors' responsibilities to minimize risk while maximizing digital strategic opportunity and opens up thinking with his visionary ideas on the potential markets of the future of tech.

The Future of the Web

Twenty-five years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. It has changed the world in ways we could have never have imagined in Business, Education, and Government. The way we buy and sell, inform and are informed, agree and disagree, share and collaborate has been transformed. The Web has advanced medical research, helped solve complex health problems and advanced the pursuit of freedom and democracy. More recently the Web has moved from Web of documents to a Web of data moving us faster forward. How will the future of the Web impact existing strategies and vision? Where are the threats and opportunities in the Web that awaits us? Sir Tim discusses how he conceived and developed the Web, and details what’s next on the horizon for the Web we know today.

Security and the Web of Things

With leadership, society and security as themes, Web security is a constant battle. The broader tech community is in a time of an out-and-out battle between attackers and defenders. How does society assure that the same open platform of the Web will continue? The Internet of things is interesting for the future of the Web and of business. The Web of Data includes everything from bank statements, to fitness apps to mapping. Privacy, authenticity and access control centralization will become key areas for businesses. There is a decision to be made to what extent this Web we create will be interoperable. Linking information across a company is hard enough. What happens when everything you buy becomes related? Standards and the ways companies are connecting turbines or smart watches all will hinge on the interoperability of standards. Distributed applications will impact the commercial world. Companies need information to make decisions on how to support business for the future.


Named one of the greatest minds of the 20th century by Time, Tim Berners-Lee is responsible for one of that century's most important advancements: the world wide web. Now, this low-profile genius-who never personally profitted from his invention -offers a compelling protrait of his invention. He reveals the Web's origins and the creation of the now ubiquitous http and www acronyms and shares his views on such critical issues as censorship, privacy, the increasing power of softeware companies , and the need to find the ideal balance between commercial and social forces. He offers insights into the true nature of the Web, showing readers how to use it to its fullest advantage. And he presents his own plan for the Web's future, calling for the active support and participation of programmers, computer manufacturers, and social organizations to manage and maintain this valuable resource so that it can remain a powerful force for social change and an outlet for individual creativity.