Cyprus Mail

Thirty years since the invention of www which changed the world

In 1989 websites did not exist, but now they are used by all, Constantia Alexandrou from The Cyprus Institute told the Cyprus News Agency on the 30th anniversary of the invention of the world wide web, which now connects billions of people every day.

Constantia Alexandrou is professor and director of the Computation-based Science and Technology Research Centre (CaSToRC) of The Cyprus Institute, whose team also contributes to the work of Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, where the world wide web was invented in 1989 by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee.

Alexandrou was awarded the “Cyprus Research Prize – Distinguished Researcher 2018” in the thematic section “Physical Sciences and Engineering”.

It is noted that former Cern director Herwig Schopper was founding member of the Cyprus Institute.

“WWW is an information system, where documents and other web resources are identified and interlinked by hypertext and are accessible via the internet. Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invented the world wide web in 1989, while working at Cern,” Alexandrou told the CNA.

She added the web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automated information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world, while in 1993, Cern put the world wide web software in the public domain and later made a release available with an open licence.

“New ideas are originating from the initial purpose of www that was to allow researchers working with Cern to share and analyse their results for scientific discovery” she said.

Alexandrou noted that exciting new approaches are arising in fields as diverse as information (open data), politics (open government), scientific research (open access), education, and culture (free culture).

In the future, she said, everything will be connected.

Smart cities will rely on being able to share and analyse data as they are being produced.

“The 5G technology will unleash new ideas and bring transformative changes in areas like mobile HD video, connected cities and homes, self-driving cars, smart agriculture, consumer wearables, mobile virtual reality, health monitoring and in general Internet of Things.”

Every village, she said, every school and every citizen will be connected and internet will be available everywhere.

The vast data produced and new methods to analyse them will lead to new insights and more competitive societies, Alexandrou told the CNA.

Asked about Cern (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), where www was invented, she said that it operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

It was established in 1954 in Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border as a European organisation with the primary aim to drive fundamental research in physics and at the time of its creation, it was also seen as a promoter of peace through scientific research among European nations in the aftermath of the second world word.

It currently has 22 member states. Cyprus, Serbia and Slovenia are associate member states in the pre-stage to membership.

In 2016 Cern had 2,500 scientific, technical, and administrative staff members, and hosted about 12,000 users.

In the same year, it generated 49 petabytes of data according to its annual report.

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