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Robert Cailliau

Robert Cailliau is a Belgian informatics engineer and computer scientist who, together with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, developed the World Wide Web.

In December 1974, he started working at CERN as a Fellow in the Proton Synchrotron (PS) division, working on the control system of the accelerator. In April 1987 he left the PS division to become group leader of Office Computing Systems in the Data Handling division.

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee proposed a hypertext system for access to the many forms of documentation at and related to CERN. Berners-Lee created the system, calling it World Wide Web, between September to December 1990. During this time, Cailliau and he co-authored a proposal for funding for the project. Cailliau later became a key proponent of the project.

In 1993, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Cailliau started the European Commission’s first web-based project for information dissemination in Europe (WISE). As a result of his work with CERN’s Legal Service, CERN released the web technology into the public domain on 30 April 1993.

In December 1993 Cailliau called for the first International WWW Conference which was held at CERN in May 1994. The oversubscribed conference brought together 380 web pioneers and was a milestone in the development of the web.

The conference led to the forming of the International World Wide Web Conference Committee which has organized an annual conference since then. Cailliau was a member of the Committee from 1994 until 2002.

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