History credits Sir Tim Berners-Lee for the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW), in 1989, whichhas become one of the most important means of communication between people across the world (Berners-Lee, 2017). Essentially, it is an internet-based hypermedia tool that allows global information sharing. Berners-Lee’s invention of the WWW came at a time when new technologies, such as the commercialization of personal computers were taking root. In inventing the WWW, Berners-Lee developed the first web client and server, whose specifications of HTTP, HTML and URIs were the backbones of today’s web technology (Lunden, 2013). Another reason for the success of his platform was that at its invention, he released the technology to the public domain unlike other innovators of the time, as Gopher’s,, who sought to license their innovations. Moreover, Berners-Lee’s invention of the WWW allowed users to determine the linkages they were willing to make and their structure.
The combination of the release to the public and freedom of the users to determine the connections they were willing to undertake in sharing information on the platform led to the success of the invention. Today, Berners-Lee’s invention is useable and relevant in different fields, including education, commerce, manufacturing, and finance. Even more is that in the current intricate post-industrial economies, WWW is making significant contributions to the efficiency and effectiveness of financial and scientific research (Associate Press, 2004). The technology has also made critical contributions in the realization of gaps in governance and accountability, provision of civil rights, management of public wealth as well as democratic management. as it continues to undergo fundamental changes in the way it operates and allows humans to share information, it will widen its scope
Associate Press (2004). Web inventor finally makes money off it. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5217598/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/t/web-inventor-finally-makes-money-it/#.Wl4SebNRV0g.
Berners-Lee, T. (2017). Tim Berners-Lee: I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/11/tim-berners-lee-web-inventor-save-internet.
Lunden, I. (2013). Marc Andreessen, Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf among inaugural winners of the £1M Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. Tech Crunch. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2013/03/18/andreessen-berners-lee-cerf-qeprize/.
As a contributor to information access and ease of use of the web, Andreessen is among the individuals that have made huge contributions to current technology. After the invention of the World Wide Web, by Tim Berners-Lee, there was need to access it easily, even for people with little computer knowledge. qWhile the web and internet were revolutionary and their availability made it possible to access to huge volumes of useful information, the interface was primitive and only rocket scientists could easily access the information (Entrepreneur, 2008). Marc Andreessen made access of the web easy by developing the first graphic user interface web browser, Mosaic. At its release, the interface0 was free and had more than one million copies downloaded in a year (Entrepreneur, 2008).
With Jim Clark, Andreessen founded Netscape, refining the Mosaic browser, which the wo later named to Netscape Navigator (Anderson, 2012). The browser was overly popular as it had nearly 75 percent of the browser market share at its peak (Entrepreneur, 2008). The Netscape Company expanded its product line, creating software tools that enabled enterprises to create and maintain their web pages, in addition to allowing the establishment of virtual stores, where corporations could conduct secure transactions over the internet. Essentially, this was the birth of present day’s ecommerce.
The success of Netscape Navigator brought to the fore competition among browsers. Although it eventually lost its market share to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, especially because of Microsoft’s bundling of the Explorer with its Windows operating system, Netscape laid the foundation for future browsers. Specifically, Mosaic, and later Netscape, provided the basis of the graphic user interface currently enjoyed by users when surfing the internet. Notably, Andreessen’s contribution earned him Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (BBC, 2013).
(2008). Marc Andreessen. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/197600.
(2013). Internet pioneers win engineering prize. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-21831916.
Anderson, C. (2012). The man who makes the future: Wired Icon Marc Andreessen. Wired. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2012/04/ff_andreessen/.
Bill Gates is perhaps one of the most notable names in technology having sparked the era of home computers. By learning BASIC and tweaking it, he and Paul Allen launched the use of home computers, especially after they founded Microsoft in 1976 (Evans, 2008). Afterwords, Gates signed a deal with IBM for the creation of a Disk Operating System (DOS) that would be the default operating system for IBM personal computers. The deal enabled many to access and use computers, even as the company (Microsoft) developed and marketed its DOS (MS-DOS) to PC manufacturers later.
MS-DOS led to the development of Windows, which become the de facto standard operating system. According to Tweney (2008), Microsoft’s dominance in the operating system market enabled the computer industry to develop. Also, it allowed the blossoming of thousands of software and hardware companies. Microsoft, under Bill Gate, pushed graphic user interface on operating systems, a feature that has become commonplace in nearly all the operating systems in the market(Foster, 2008).
Perhaps Bill Gates’ most significant contribution to technology was the release of Windows 95, which apart from having a better and more user-friendly graphical interface, also brought Internet Explorer, the web browser bundled with the operating system and allowed people to find information on the internet. Additionally, the operating system and subsequence Microsoft operating systems, were compatible with most computer hardware in the market, enabling people to access the computers, use them for business and entertainment, as well as connect with friends and family (Titcomb, 2015).
Windows’ compatibility with most hardware in the market and its monopoly of the OS market helped standardize the industry. Tweney (2008) argues that without Microsoft’s monopoly and innovation over the years, especially of the graphical interface and web browsers, the sector would have been much smaller today, and many of the hardware in the industry today would have been incompatible.
Evans, D. (2008). In focus: Bill Gates’ five greatest achievements. Techradar. Retrieved from http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/in-focus-bill-gates-five-greatest-achievements-409392.
Foster, E. (2008). Bill Gates and PC history. InfoWorld. Retrieved from https://www.infoworld.com/article/2639623/techology-business/bill-gates-and-pc-history.html.
Titcomb, J. (2015). Windows 95 at 20: how Bill Gates’ software changed the world. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/windows/11817065/Twenty-years-ago-Microsoft-launched-Windows-95-changing-the-world.html.
Tweney, D. (2008). So long, Bill Gates, and thanks for the monopoly. Wired. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2008/06/gates-monopoly/.
Hopper is among the greatest contributors to modern-day computing technology having developed one of the first computer languages. She had the vision of wider usage of computers, and argued that the vision could only be made possible using tools that made the computer more programmer and application-friendly (Yale, 1994). Hopper was among the pioneers working on the UNIVAC I, which was the first widely produced electronic digital computer. Additionally, she was instrumental in the programming of computer codes, through encouraging the collection and sharing of common portions of computer programs. The suggestion helped in the reduction of errors, tedium, and duplication of effort (Yale, 1994). Today, computer programmers share codes, while other work on different parts of it thanks to the Her.
The computer world fames Hopper for the creation and compiling the first open sources code called the “compiler” (Harford, 2017). With codes from other programmers, she developed the first open-source programming language and software called COBOL. Notably, her program was instrumental in providing the current distinction between hardware and software. Through the dissimilarity, computers from different manufacturers can easily run software from a different developer (Yale News, 2017). Moreover, it gave birth to software and hardware engineering as diverse elements of computer engineering, on which today’s programmers major algorithms and concepts, instead of wires and switches.
(2017). Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992): A legacy of innovation and service. Yale News. Retrieved from https://news.yale.edu/2017/02/10/grace-murray-hopper-1906-1992-legacy-innovation-and-service.
Harford, T. (2017). Grace Hopper’s compiler: Computing’s hidden hero. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38677721.
Yale (1994). Grace Murray Hopper. Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference Proceedings. Retrieved from http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/Files/hopper-story.html.
Referred to a “Mother of the Internet” Perlman created the STP (Spanning Tree Protocol). The protocol was an algorithm that improved Ethernet technology scalability allowing it to be able to create relatively large networks from the previous working over short distances only. According to Newnham (2016), Perlman’s creation of the STP in 1988 made fundamental contribution to the state of linkages in routing protocols, enabling them to be robust, scalable, and easy to manage. His contribution to technology also includes the development of a routing protocol, which is standardly used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Foremski (2011) informs that the protocol wasinitially designed for DECnet, and called the ‘link state routine.’ The International Organization for Standardization adopted the protocol naming it IS-IS, and subsequently made it the typical protocol procedure, currently used across the spectrum by ISPs (Foremski, 2011).
Related to her work on STP is her project on the standardization of TRILL (TRansparent Interconnection of Lots of Links). TRILL is an improvement of STP, which allows more scalability of the Ethernet, enabling it to optimally use Internet bandwidth (Newnham, 2016). Perlman’s contribution in getting more females into the field of computer and technology is also noteworthy. Having studied during a period when few women were in the field, Perlman sought to inspire them, especially those interested in pursuing careers in information technology, to go after their dreams (Rosen, 2014).
Foremski, T. (2011). Intel’s Radia Perlman: Don’t call her “Mother of the Internet.” Silicon Valley Watcher. Retrieved from http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/intels-radia-perlman-dont-call-her-mother-of-the-internet/.
Newnham, D. (2016). Radia Perlman. Female Innovators at Work. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4842-2364-2_18.
Rosen, R., J. (2014). Radia Perlman: Don’t Call Me the Mother of the Internet. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/03/radia-perlman-dont-call-me-the-mother-of-the-internet/284146/.
Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder was the major brain behind the invention of Apple I and Apple II computers (Weller, 2017). The two laid the foundation for some of other Apple’s inventions including the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, in addition to the MacBook and iMac lines of computers. While computers had been in the market before him (Wozniak) and his co-founder Steve Jobs came into the scene, he marked a fundamental shift in the computer industry (Wall, 2011). Previously, computers were largely used in business. The release of Apple II meant that more people had access to computers at affordable prices, and with wider usage.
While no longer active at Apple, Steve Wozniak continues to make remarkable contributions to technology. Recently, he launched a startup, Woz U, which is essentially a digital institute with the sole purpose of making computer science less intimidating, while at the same time help people gain skills in computer science (Weller, 2017). The venture is one among the many of its kind where Wozniak not only encourages people to get into technology, but also helps them gain skills and establish their technology-related ventures (Baker, 2016). Along with such ventures are his philanthropic involvements, where he supplies students of specific projects with computers.
Baker, E. (2016). Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Becomes Innovator in Residence, High Point University. High Point University. Retrieved from http://www.highpoint.edu/blog/2016/03/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniak-becomes-innovator-in-residence/.
Wall, M. (2011). Steve Jobs’ greatest technology contributions. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44817208/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/t/steve-jobs-greatest-technology-contributions/#.Wl5jv7NRV0g.
Weller (2017). Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak launches digital school ‘Woz U.’ Inc. retrieved from https://www.inc.com/business-insider/steve-woz-wozniak-apple-co-founder-launches-new-startup-woz-u-technology.html.