Torvalds Shares $1.5m Tech Prize After Split Decision

Bobbie Johnson | GigaOM | June 13, 2012

Linux creator Linus Torvalds has been honored with Finland’s prestigious Grand Millennium Technology Prize — often called the “Nobel of hi-tech” — for his work on open source software. But for the first time, the €1.2 million ($1.5 million) award will be split between two laureates, after the judging panel was unable to decide between them.

In April Torvalds, who was born in Finland, was revealed as one of two finalists for the prize, alongside Japanese stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka. After long deliberations failed to reach a conclusion, however, the judges decided to buck convention and divide the prize between them.

At a ceremony in Helsinki on Wednesday, both men were presented with the award and will receive €600,000 for their efforts to change the world through technology.
“The prize committee decided, for the first time in the Millennium Technology Prize’s ten year history, to award the Grand Prize to two innovators,” said Dr Ainomaija Haarla, president of the Technology Academy Finland, which is responsible for the event. “Dr Shinya Yamanaka’s work in stem cell research and Linus Torvalds’s work in open source software have transformed their fields and will remain important for generations to come.”