The creator of the open source operating system Linux, Linus Torvalds, has been named the joint winner of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize for the creation of the free platform.
He won the award in conjunction with stem-cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka, the first time the prize has been split, with both winners receiving €600,000.
The president of Technology Academy Finland, which awards the prize, Ainomaija Haarla, said Linux is a vital component of the internet and has the potential for further developments to "benefit humanity".
"Torvalds' work has kept the web open for the pursuit of knowledge and for the benefit of humanity - not simply for financial interests," he said.
Torvalds said he was honoured to win the award, particularly as it was issued by the Technology Academy of Finland, his home nation.
"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," he added.
Torvalds joins an elite group of researchers and engineers who have been honoured with the prize including internet architect Sir Tim Berners-Lee and LED researcher Shuji Nakamura.
Other notable researchers nominated for the prize include ARM processor developer Stephen Furber and DNA fingerprinting innovator Alec Jeffreys.
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