RDA Gold Coast Host Visit by Founder of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee Posted on February 12, 2013

Regional Development Australia Gold Coast (RDAGC) is very proud to be associated with the recent visit by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, to Australia after an absence of some 15 years.

The whirlwind tour took in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney and his only Queensland visit was the Gold Coast where he delivered a free public lecture at Griffith University on 2nd February as part of the TBL Down Under Tour.

Sir Tim marked the occasion by outlining his views on open data and the future of innovation.

The City of Gold Coast, Griffith University, Queensland State Library and a number of supporters were able to make this visit to the Gold Coast become a reality and RDAGC were proud to be involved as a major supporter.

A dinner for guests and supporters was hosted by Prof Ian O’Connor, Vice Chancellor of Griffith University following the lecture and attended by a number of RDA GC Committee members including Chairman Craig Devlin, Treasurer Jevena O’Brien and Committee Member Trina Hockley, and Executive Officer, Ian Pritchard.

Griffith University Director, Communications, Dean Gould, said Sir Tim was referred to as the ‘rock and roll star of the cyber world’ by one fan but he proved to be so much more when he delivered his public lecture. "The inventor of the World Wide Web was compelling and charming in equal parts, generous with his knowledge and inspiring with his delivery."

The packed theatre at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus enjoyed his free public lecture along with hundreds more at live streaming venues elsewhere on campus and at the Nathan campus and Queensland State Library.

Sir Tim spoke of the need to put more data on the World Wide Web but also on how it needed to be used and linked. “We want to create a data eco-system so you need people who post data but also people who will consume it,” he said.

He gave examples of how separate sets of data were linked to provide new insights into topics and encouraged the initiatives seen on the website linkeddata.org

Sir Tim was also passionate about the creativity shown by community generated data such as Open Street Map which is gradually mapping every street in the world.

After his presentation, the former CERN physicist took several questions from the audience, among them the inevitable concern about open data being misused or insecure.

“If data is open and transparent then everyone else is able to look at it to see if it’s being misused,” he said, outlining his position that the more open data is, generally the more safe it is because any problems with it are easily exposed.

The dinner was also attended by Gold Coast and Griffith University leaders including Mayor Tom Tate, the Minister for Science and IT Ros Bates, State MP for Southport Rob Molhoek, State MP for Gaven Dr Alex Douglas, Gold Coast City Councillors William Owen-Jones and Glenn Tozer and Griffith University Chancellor Leneen Forde.

As the Gold Coast moves into the high speed broadband era, the visit highlights the importance of embracing the digital economy across the city. The City of Gold Coast Economic Development Strategy will map the digital future for our city, with a focus on innovation and technology.

Further information on the “TBL Down Under Tour” can be found at here.

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RDAGC Chairman Craig Devlin, RDAGC Committee Member Trina Hockley, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, RDAGC Treasurer Jevena O'Brien and RDAGC Executive Officer Ian Pritchard. Sir Tim Berners-Lee Down Under Tour, Gold Coast, 2nd February 2013.

(Photo courtesy of Ray Cash Photography)

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