Linus Torvalds, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka Share $1.5M Technology Prize

HELSINKI (AP) — Two leading international innovators, Linus Torvalds and Shinya Yamanaka, have shared this year’s € 1.2 million (US$ 1.5 million) Millennium Technology Prize.

Shinya Yamanaka from Japan and Linus Torvalds, right, from Finland pose after being awarded the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize in Helsinki, Finland Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The Millennium Technology Prize is the largest technology prize in the world and it is awarded once every two years. (AP Photo / LEHTIKUVA / Jarno Mela)

Torvalds, a Finnish-American, was presented the prize for creating the Linux kernel, an open source operating system used in millions of computers. Yamanaka, from Japan, was cited for his discovery of a new method to develop stem cells, which has helped scientists in medical research.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto presented the prize to the two winners in Helsinki on Wednesday.

The Finnish government and local industry initiated the biennial award in 2004. Previous winners include Japan’s Shuji Nakamura for inventions in laser technology and LED lighting, and Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the World Wide Web.