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Linus Torvalds is 2012 Millennium Technology Prize Laureate
Technology Academy Finland has declared Linus Torvalds and Dr Shinya Yamanaka laureates of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize.

The laureates, who will follow in the footsteps of other great innovators such as World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee, will be celebrated at a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday 13 June 2012, when the winner of the Grand Prize will be announced. The prize pool exceeds 1 million Euro.

The Millennium Technology Prize, the prominent award for technological innovation, is awarded every two years. Even though based in Finland, just like the Nobel Prize, this award is the largest technology prize in the world as the winner walks away with a cool €800,000.

And just like the Nobel Prize is awarded to people who make a significant impact on science, the Millenium Technology Prize celebrates life-enhancing technological innovation. The awarded technological innovation has to significantly improve the quality of human life, both today and in the future. The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded by the Technology Academy Finland, an independent foundation established by the Finnish industry, in a partnership with the Finnish state.

Eligible nominees are first examined by the International Selection Committee (ISC), a distinguished network of leading Finnish and international scientists and technologists with a broad technological experience. The final decision regarding the laureates, however, is made by the Board of the Technology Academy Finland on the basis of the ISC’s work and recommendations.

Dr Ainomaija Haarla, President of Technology Academy Finland, explains:
“We had many worthy nominations that we deliberated over, but ultimately we narrowed it down to these two candidates who have made such a significant impact in the field of computing and stem-cell research. I hope this announcement will lead to added recognition for these extraordinary scientists and the technologies that they have developed. These two men may well be talked about for centuries to come.”

Professor Yamanaka’s work in stem cell research has been a breakthrough as he invented induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS), a technology where researchers can work without the need for human embryo cells. In the US, but also a few European countries, it’s forbidden to use embryos for research purposes so his technology is embraced by scientists as well as politicians.

Linus Torvalds’ nomination is a recognition of his creation of the widely used Linux kernel.
More generally, this is a recognition of the impact of his work on shared software development, networking and the openness of the web, making it accessible to millions, if not billions.

In addition to his work on Linux, Linus Torvalds has defended open source software for years. In his own words, “Software is too important in the modern world not to be developed through open sources. The real impact of Linux is as a way to allow people and companies to build on top of it to do their own thing. We’re finally getting to the point where “data is just data”, and we don’t have all these insane special communications channels for different forms of data.”

The Grand Prize Winner will be announced at a festive ceremony in Helsinki on 13 June 2012.

Who do you think should win this prize?

Author: +Kellya Clanzig

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Maciej Pendolski's profile photoSascha Marcel Schmidt's profile photoZina Bouzar's profile photoErich Feldmeier's profile photo
Based in finland just like the nobel price. Makes me chuckle...
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