ESL 91
FALL, 2002


Andy Fan
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Go to the pages Unsung Heroes of Computing: 5 Visionaries Who Changed the Face of Technology and 10 Visionaries of the 1990's. Choose ONE of these visionaries and do an in-depth exploration of how that person changed the face of technology.


Our society is full of new technologies. The computer is one of the most successful technologies today, and it has become a part of many aspects of our lives. However, it is the result of a big contribution of many people. One of these people is Tim Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web.

Tim Berners-Lee was born in London, England on June 8, 1955. He was the quintessential child of the computer age because he was born while the computer was being developed. His parents met while working on the Ferranti Mark I, where the first computer was sold commercially. When he was young Tim’s parent taught him to think unconventionally by playing games over the breakfast table with imaginary numbers. He would think of different numbers in his head and try to calculate in his brain. For example, what is the square root of 4? Tim also enjoyed pretend as a computer by using cardboards.

When Tim became older he enrolled in Emanuel School in London between 1969-73. After he graduated from high school, he went to Queens College at Oxford University where he studied physics. “Physics was fun” as he recalled because it was a good preparation for creating a global world. He graduated from Queens College at Oxford University, England in 1976 with a BA with honors in physics. The education that Tim had learned through his years help him built his first electronic computer out of spare parts and a used television set.

After he graduated from Oxford University he worked for several computer companies. He spent two years working with Plessey Telecommunications Ltd in UK, a major UK Telecom equipment manufacturer. His job was to distribute transaction systems, message relays, and bar code technology. In 1978, Tim left Plessey to join D.G. Nash Ltd, where he wrote, among other things, typesetting software for intelligent printers. He also spent a year and a half working as an independent consultant.

During the year and a half he worked as independent consultant for several companies, Tim spent half a year working as consultant software engineer at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Working for CERN gave Tim a big chance to create his own program. This program allows people to receive information faster without going through the many connections. So Tim spent many hours creating the program that could link things together since he had always been interested in programs that dealt with information in a brain like way. He created a piece of software or program that kept track of all the random associations which can store information like human. This program is called Enquire, but he never published at that time. The program was later updated to form the conceptual basis for the future development of the World Wide Web.

Tim’s vision became a reality by using two technologies that had already been developed by Vannevar Bush. Bush had described a theoretical system for storing information based on associations. Later, others like Ted Nelson and Douglas Englebart had furthered Bush’s work with their own work on hypertext. By using the hypertext Tim created the program Enquire. This Enquire was later updated to become the World Wide Web. When Tim finished with the program, Tim tried to propose his idea to the CERN in 1989, but he received no reply. The denial of his idea didn’t stop Tim from working on his idea anyway.

In 1990, he wrote the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The HTTP is the language computers would use to communicate hypertext documents over the Internet and he designed a scheme to give document addresses on the Internet. He called this address a Universal Resource Identifier (URI) or locator (URL). By the end of the year he had written a client program to retrieve and view hypertext documents; he called this the World Wide Web. He tried to sell his creation to CERN, but they didn’t accept, so he turned his attention to the Internet community. In 1991, he made the program available on the Internet and posted notices to several newsgroups. This web began taking off and began setting up its own web servers. His first server was known as “” at CERN.

As more people began using the web, it became evident that Tim Berners-Lee had developed a great invention for the society. The Web has made a lot easier for people to link and find information a lot faster. We now don’t need a longer time to find information.

Though Tim created the web, he was afraid that the new success of the Web would lead to destructive competition that would create proprietary Web products that could destroy the open nature of the Web because other people were trying to copy or create Tim ideas by selling to someone else.

So Tim set up a conference by calling companies and his friends to discuss his ideas of a consortium. This consortium was called the World Wide Web consortium or W3C. The consortium was to keep people from destroying the original Web, which Tim had created. Tim became the head of the new consortium.

This new World Wide Wed invention not only creates an easier way for people to access information in the Internet. Tim Berners-Lee’s creation of the web was a success for himself and for the people because people can just go on the Web and retrieve information in the Internet. I am very thankful because of Mr. Lee’s program. I can access information in the Internet.

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Abnerson Gourdette
ESL 91
Fall, 2002

Essay Topic: Go to the pages Unsung Heroes of Computing: 5 Visionaries Who Changed the Face of Technology and 10 Visionaries of the 1990's. Choose ONE of these visionaries and do an in-depth exploration of how that person changed the face of technology.


Yahoo was created in late 1993 by Jerry Yang and David Filo, two electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University. They started to keep track of their favorite websites from a trailer on campus.

Yang and Filo made a list of categories of Websites they had visited. They spent lots of time creating how Yahoo was going to work and what they were going to put into it, so people would be interested. They wanted to create something where people would find information about any topic or subject, games and biographies. Everybody had their own interests or hobbies so they wanted to realize a web where everybody would find their interests. They wanted Yahoo to remain at the top of the other competitors such as AOL, HOTMAIL, etc... and so far they have succeded.

Yang and Filo knew that they would need to do a tremendous of amount of work to make multimedia technology more attractive, and make the advertising more compelling. Businnessman found that Yahoo was the best place to practice their interests. As Filo and Yang said their goal and purpose were the same, which is to keep the Internet free to the users and make the business part work by finding sponsors and advertisers who want to reach the audience. It is one of the keys to keep improving the usefulness of the web and make sure that as many people as possible can use it. According to the Oct 21st NY Times,"Yahoo is the most popular, valuable and widely imitated branch in a multimillion-dollar market".

It cost Yang and Filo billions of dollars to realize Yahoo, which of course was a success. Yang and Filo estimate 40 million people worldwide use Yahoo in a 30 day period, with an average 115 million pageviews served per day.

Yang and Filo did not even consider themselves as successful people even though their co-workers believed they were for founding a such a great, interesting website. In the business section of the Sunday Oct 13th New York Times, a writer declared that "Yahoo was a profitable and perfect website for business and the job market". People who worked there at Yahoo with Yang and Filo were very competent and proud to represent such a great website. The employees are satisfied and love their jobs.

If it were not for Yang and Filo, we would not have Yahoo. As Yang said, "it is not often that we get time to reflect on what we've done". In the rare moments that I do, I look at the people that I work with at Yahoo and feel proud and satisfied".

As a result of that, today Yahoo is one of the most successful websites. Yang and Filo achieved their goals which were to give people free Internet access, to get sponsors and advertisers to promote their websites, to give a good amount of interesting jobs to people, and to keep the business flowing. In the years to come Yahoo will be to some people their favorite website because of their good services.

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