The 2012 Millennium Technology Prize Committee has named Linus Torvalds, founder of Linux, and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, stem cell researcher, as winners of the prestigious award, which marks the first time two innovators jointly received the honor.
Torvalds work as the creator and advocate of the Linux kernel, which now runs millions of computers and mobile devices, earned him the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. He received €600,000 prize for the award presented before scientists and tycoons in a ceremony held at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki.
Dr. Ainomaija Haarla, president of Technology Academy of Finland, said,
The Prize Committee decided, for the first time in the Millennium Technology Prize’s ten year history, to award the Grand Prize to two innovators.
Dr Shinya Yamanaka’s work in stem cell research and Linus Torvalds’s work in open source software have transformed their fields and will remain important for generations to come.
The International Selection Committee has to judge whether an innovation has had a favourable impact on people’s lives and assess its potential for further development to benefit humanity in the future. The innovations of both this year’s winners embody that principle.
In receiving the award, Torvalds said,
I’m really honored to be the joint recipient of this year’s Millennium Technology Prize. This recognition is particularly important to me given that it’s given by the Technology Academy of Finland. Thank you to the International Selection Committee and the TAF Board.
I’d also like to thank all the people I’ve worked with, who have helped make the project not only such a technical success, but have made it so fun and interesting.
Previous recipients of the decade-old Millennium Technology Prize include WWW pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee for his creation of hypertext technology and Shuji Nakamura, the founder of white LED technology.