Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Pioneer of cyberspace honoured

Wendy Hall (Southampton)
Professor Hall works for gender equality in the technological arena

A professor who invented a forerunner of the world wide web has been made a dame in the New Year Honours.

Wendy Hall created the "open hypermedia system" Microcosm with colleagues after joining the University of Southampton computer science group in 1984.

And in 1994 she became the university's first female professor of engineering.

Professor Hall, 56, was made a CBE in 2000 for services to science and technology and is considered one of the best computer scientists in the world.

She was president of the British Computer Society from 2003 to 2004, and in 2005 became the first woman to be appointed senior vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

More recently, Professor Hall co-founded the world's first interdisciplinary body to study the structure and sociology of the web, the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), with web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Southampton professor Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel Weitzner, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Click here to see an interview with Professor Hall about the web science initiative in March 2008

Throughout her career Professor Hall has championed the role of her female colleagues in computing and the sciences and worked to ensure developments in technology benefit women as well as men.

"I am thrilled to have been honoured in this way," she said.

"It is of course exciting for me personally and for my family, but it is also a tribute to all the people I have worked with in my career as a scientist and engineer both at Southampton and in the wider community."

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