A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: making information free and accessible through digital means.
While a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Kahle studied artificial intelligence. Soon after graduating, he helped found the company Thinking Machines, a supercomputer maker. In 1989, Mr. Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS) and established WAIS, Inc. With The Wall Street Journal as its first customer, the company revolutionized the electronic publishing market and Mr. Kahle eventually sold the company to America Online. In 1996, Mr. Kahle founded the Internet Archive, one of the largest digital libraries in the world. With a staff of nearly 200, and 100 partnering libraries, the organization is working to create an online catalog of every book ever created. Also, in 1996 Mr. Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, a service that collects data on web browsing behavior for future analysis, which was sold to Amazon.com in 1999.
Mr. Kahle received a B.S. in computer science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Mary Austin started The Kahle/Austin Foundation, which supports the Internet Archive along with other non-profit organizations with similar goals. Additionally, Mr. Kahle is the founder of Open Content Alliance, a group of organizations contributing to a permanent, publicly accessible archive of digitized texts.
Kahle is a member of the Internet Hall of Fame, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and serves on the boards of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the European Archive, and the Television Archive. He is a member of the advisory board of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress, and is a member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure. In 2010 he was given an honorary doctorate in computer science from Simmons College, where he studied library science in the 1980s. Also, in 2010 he was given an honorary doctorate in Law at the University of Alberta.