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MIT scientist Timothy Berners-Lee with $270,000 MacArthur Fellowship

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Tim Berners-Lee, director of the W3 Consortium at the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) and the father of the World Wide Web, has won a $270,000 MacArthur Fellowship. MIT alumnus Karl Sims was also among 29 Fellows announced by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago on Tuesday. Mr. Sims will receive $235,000.

Mr. Berners-Lee joins an elite group of MacArthur winners from MIT. Others are Professors Jed Z. Buchwald, Noam Chomsky, Evelyn Fox-Keller, John H. Harbison, Michael Kremer, Eric S. Lander, Heather N. Lechtman, Richard C. Mulligan, David C. Page, Michael J. Piore, Charles F. Sabel, Richard Stallman, Alar Toomre and Jack Wisdom.

In addition to conceiving and developing the World Wide Web in 1989-90, Mr. Berners-Lee has designed the uniform resource locator (URL) protocol, a common system for referring to documents and multimedia recordings on remote computers, and established the first web server on the Internet.

In his role as director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a nonprofit, member-sponsored organization, he encourages the development of open communication specifications. Mr. Berners-Lee, 43 years old, is now working to enhance the capacity of the Web as a mode of free expression and global collaboration.

Mr. Berners-Lee, born in London, earned a BA in physics in 1976 from Queen's College at the University of Oxford. He joined LCS in 1994 and received the Kilby Foundation's Young Innovator of the Year award the following year.

Mr. Sims, who received the SB in biology in 1984, is a computer scientist and pioneer in the field of computational evolution. He uses genetic algorithms to obtain new solutions to tangible problems, develops graphic representations of those solutions, and uses those graphics to teach the principles of biological selection.

Mr Sims' recent interactive installation, Galapagos (on permanent exhibit at the Intercommunications Center, an electronic arts museum in Tokyo), allows viewers to apply aesthetic criteria to animated figures, determining which survive to reproduce -- a demonstration akin to nature's mechanism of sexual selection. Mr. Sims, born in 1962 in Boston, has also earned SBs from MIT in architecture and media arts and sciences. He is self-employed.

The Fellowships, awarded annually since 1981, are unrestricted grants to individuals, not projects or organizations. The MacArthur Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from the Fellows.

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