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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Rasmus Lerdorf, 34

Invented a server language that brought live data to the Web


Born near the North Pole on Greenland’s Disco Island, Rasmus Lerdorf has learned five languages while living around the world. But it’s the language he invented that has had global impact. In 1995, without any formal programming training, Lerdorf developed a server language to help him set up Web sites he was designing for companies. He named the language PHP, for PHP hypertext preprocessor- an acronym that contains itself. Once embedded in the Web’s basic addressing protocol, PHP solved a fundamental problem. Before PHP, Web pages were dominated by static text and pictures; creating sites that could readily incorporate up-to-date information or interact with databases was difficult. PHP made all that possible. Lerdorf offered his code free, and today companies worldwide, including Ericsson, CBS, and Yahoo!, use it as the backbone for more than 12 million sites, where it enables live financial data, news feeds, and stock tickers. Along the way, Lerdorf worked stints at IBM and Linuxcare. In September 2002, he joined Yahoo! To assist it in migrating to PHP-based tools, a move expected to speed development and reduce training costs.

2003 TR35 Winners

John Apostolopoulos

Develops ways to improve the security of streaming video on the Net

Brian Behlendorf

Sparked the widespread development of Web servers, mainstreaming the nascent Web

Jud Bowman

Wrote software that is accelerating the expansion of wireless networking

Lorrie Cranor

Leads the global effort to improve privacy practices and tools on the Web

Jason Hill

Wrote software that allows hundreds of minute wireless sensors to communicate better

Meg Hourihan

Sparked the rise of the popular Web-based journals known as blogs

Paul Q. Judge

Wrote software that stops spam and viruses before they enter a network

Rasmus Lerdorf

Invented a server language that brought live data to the Web

Lih Y. Lin

Built micromirror switches for faster, all-optical telecommunications networks

Paul Meyer

Brings database and Web-like services to remote areas through touch-tone phones

Rueben Singh

Provides support services and startup money for entrepreneurs

Martin Wattenberg

Simplifies peoples electronic lives with graphical data management

Andrew Wheeler

Builds wireless sensor networks that improve industrial efficiency

Evan Williams

Fueled the expansion of blogs across the Web

Jennifer Yates

Wrote software widely adopted by the telecom industry that speeds up optical networks


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