The World Wide Web was developed by British physicist and computer scientist Timothy Berners-Lee as a project within the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. Berners-Lee combined several existing ideas into a single system to make it easier for physicists to use data on the Internet. Most important, he added multimedia—the ability to include graphics—to the hyperlink concept found in a previous Internet service known as gopher. Berners-Lee had begun working with hypertext in the early 1980s. An early prototype implementation of the Web became operational at CERN in 1989, and the idea quickly spread to universities in the rest of the world.
Groups at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researched and extended Web technology. They developed the first browser that was used at many sites, named Mosaic, in 1993. To allow the Web to be accessed from a wide variety of computer systems, researchers built multiple versions of Mosaic. Each version was designed to be used with a specific operating system, the software that controls the computer. Within a year, computer programmer Marc Andreessen had formed a commercial company, Netscape Communications Corporation, to build and sell Web technologies.