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Linus Torvalds named a finalist for Millennium Technology Prize

The Technology Academy of Finland announced Thursday that Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds is one of two laureates for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize, in recognition of his contributions to the open-source software world.

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"Linus Torvalds' achievements have had a great impact on shared software development, networking and the openness of the web, making it accessible for millions, if not billions," the academy said in a statement.

Japanese medical researcher Shinya Yamanaka was named Torvalds' co-laureate for his work on creating pluripotent stem cells for use in future studies. The two are competing for the lion's share of a prize pool worth in excess of $1.3 million.

This winner will be announced in mid-June at a ceremony in Helsinki, as part of a larger Millennium Technology Week event featuring lectures and a 10th anniversary celebration.

The prize is given out every two years to those adjudged by the academy to have contributed to significant improvements in the quality of human life. Candidates working in any technological field can be considered.

"I hope this announcement will lead to added recognition for these extraordinary scientists and the technologies that they have developed. These two men may well be talked about for centuries to come," said Dr. Ainomaija Haarla, the academy's president.

Torvalds or Yamanaka will join an illustrious and exclusive group of previous winners, including biotechnology and consumer electronics experts, along with none other than Tim Berners-Lee, widely acknowledged as the father of the World Wide Web.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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