21 September 2004

Tim Berners Lee (Interviews on Internet.com)

Tim Berners Lee

I've been reading John Battelle's searchblog now for about a month and it's definitely staying on my blogroll. This recent posting alterted me to an interesting interview: John Battelle's Searchblog: Tim Berners Lee Interviewed

It is now nearly 15 years since Tim and his colleagues in CERN developed initial prototypes of what we know know as the Web. I remember well the first time I heard of it at the Network Services Conference, October 1992 in Pisa, Italy (the call for participation is still on-line: NSC92). This was for European academic networking community including a nice mixture of librarians and IT folks. I was blown away by two talks: John S. Quarterman's talk on Internet growth (which was pretty impressive even prior to the Web), and Jean-Francois Groff's talk on "World-Wide Web: global hypertext coming true" that was written by Tim, Jean-Francois and another of their colleagues in CERN, Robert Cailliau. Jean-Francois described the clients that were available or planned: dumb, PC, Mac, X-Windows and NeXt Cube. We could try it out a text-based client by telnetting to info.cern.ch (! It wasn't long after this I got into Linux (SLS and then Slackware) and deployed a CERN httpd server in University College Galway, Ireland where I worked at the time. Later I deployed the UCG official webserver.

As one would expect, the interview with Tim focsues on the emerging semantic web, his vision of where the Web is going. Interestingly he is also very excited about the mobile web, the area where I am now working with colleagues in the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group.

I still beleive that good research in communications software requires active collaboration and co-oeration between different academic disciplies. For the Web it was librarians/archivists and computer scientists. Now it is these plus telecommunications engineers and many other disciplines. The challenge is to learn from our experiences in all these domains and aggregate knowledge to produce really usfeul systems based on simple principles. It can be done, just look at the Web!

For more infromation see the W3C: A Little History of the World Wide Web and CERN: What are CERN's greatest achievements?.

Posted by mofoghlu at September 21, 2004 9:47 AM | TrackBack