This year’s Millennium Technology Prize was shared by Linus Torvalds and Shinya Yamanaka, two recognized international innovators from their respective countries of Finland and Japan. As the world’s largest technology prize, the award ceremony was held in Helsinki, Finland on Wednesday, June 13th. The two recipients will thus be sharing the $1.5 million prize.
The award was presented to the two winners by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. As a Finnish-American, Torvalds was recognized for creating the open-source operating system known as Linux, which has gone on to be used in millions of computers. Japan’s Yamanaka was credited with his research into and discovery of a new method to develop stem cells. His work has gone on to become invaluable to scientists in the medical research field. Just last week, a team of Japanese scientists made a breakthrough discovery in using stem cells to create a human liver, something that will be a great benefit in the future to doctors involved in organ transplants.
Beginning in 2004, the Millennium Technology Prize is awarded only once every two years, and was founded by the Finnish government. Among the previous winners include the inventor the of World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, and another Japanese national, Shuji Nakamura, recognized for his inventions in laser technology and LED lighting.