Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Six MIT inventions and two MIT inventors were celebrated as the best of 2007 in Time magazine's annual survey of the world's most promising--and sometimes startling--visions of the future, as seen by scientists, engineers, educators and designers.
The two inventors chosen by Time are Tim -Berners-Lee and Vannevar Bush.
Berners-Lee, senior researcher and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, is known as the father of the web. He proposed it in 1989, launched it on the Internet in 1991 and continues to guide its evolution in his role as founder and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international forum.
MIT's first dean of engineering, Bush developed a modern analog computer to solve complex equations during the 1930s. Bush envisioned what he called a "mechanized private file and library of exceeding speed and flexibility," opening the door to breakthroughs in computer and Internet technology.
Time singled out MIT inventions that may improve life for people living in cities, in space, in remote or disadvantaged areas, or with disabilities.
See photo gallery at right to learn about the six inventions.