Brewster has built technologies, companies, and institutions to advance the goal of universal access to all knowledge. He currently oversees the non-profit Internet Archive as founder and Digital Librarian, which is now one of the largest digital archives in the world.
As a digital archivist, Brewster has been active in technology, business, and law.
Keywords: MIT'82, helped start Thinking Machines, founder WAIS Wide Area Information Servers, Internet strategist AOL, co-founded Alexa Internet, sold to Amazon.com, directs Internet Archive.
After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982, he helped start a supercomputer company, Thinking Machines, that built systems for searching large text collections. In 1989, he invented the Internet’s first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server). WAIS Inc. created the online presence for many of the world's largest publishers, and was purchased by America Online in 1995. In 1996, Brewster co-founded Alexa Internet, which provides search and discovery services included in more than 90 percent of web browsers, and was purchased by Amazon in 1999.
Brewster has also worked to revise law and policy in light technical advances. He is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a plaintiff in Kahle v. Gonzales (formerly Kahle v. Ashcroft), which challenges recent copyright term extensions.
Brewster is profiled in Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite (HardWired, 1996). He was selected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, the AlwaysOn/Technorati Open Media 100 in 2005, the Upside 100 in 1997, the Micro Times 100 in 1996 and 1997, and the Computer Week 100 in 1995.
Gerard Salton (1927- 1995) A towering figure in the field of information retrieval, Gerard Salton synthesized ideas from mathematics, statistics, and natural language processing to create a scientific basis for extracting semantics from word frequency. The impact of his contributions is profound - five textbooks, over 150 research papers, and dozens of Ph.D. students. The modern computer science and information science research scene, with its terabyte databases, Web, and related technologies, owes a great deal to Gerry's pioneering efforts.
This lecture series honors our former colleague with speakers who similarly are innovators in their fields.