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WWW Turns 30

March 12, 2019

Thirty years ago, a young computer expert working at CERN combined ideas about accessing information with a desire for broad connectivity and openness. His proposal became the World Wide Web. CERN is celebrating the 30th anniversary of this revolutionary invention with a special day on 12 March.

While working at CERN, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web

In March 1989, while working at CERN, Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote his first proposal for an internet-based hypertext system to link and access information across different computers. In November 1990, this “web of information nodes in which the user can browse at will” was formalised as a proposal, “WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project”, by Berners-Lee, together with a CERN colleague, Robert Cailliau. By Christmas that year, Berners-Lee had implemented key components, namely html, http and URL, and created the first Web server, browser and editor (WorldWideWeb).

On 30 April 1993, CERN released the latest version of the WWW software into the public domain and made it freely available for anyone to use and improve. This decision encouraged the use of the Web, and society to benefit from it: half of the world’s population is now online, and close to 2 billion websites exist. Openness has been endemic to CERN’s culture ever since its Convention was signed in 1953. CERN promotes the distribution and open sharing of software, technology, publications and data, through initiatives such as open source software, open hardware, open access publishing and the CERN Open Data Portal.

It is a great honour and a source of pride for CERN to host an event to mark the 30th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal for what would become the World Wide Web, and I am delighted that Sir Tim will be with us on the day,” said CERN Director-General, Fabiola Gianotti. "The Web's invention has transformed our world, and continues to show how fundamental research fuels innovation. CERN's culture of openness was a key factor in the Laboratory’s decision in 1993 to make the web available free to everybody, a key step in its development and subsequent spread.

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