About Tony

The life that inspires the prize 

Antonio PizzigatiAntonio Pizzigati lived a brief life that exemplified the spirit of public interest computing. Born in 1971, Tony jumped into the world of computers early on. At ten, he was programming his first computer. At 14, he was helping the Washington, D.C. national office of CISPES, the group that led opposition to Reagan-era U.S. policy in Central America, straighten out its database.

Tony would go to earn a degree in computer science from MIT. Throughout his college years, he worked at the world-famous MIT Media Lab and later the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. In the early 1990s, a time when only handfuls of people knew about a new universe called the World Wide Web, Tony was among the earliest Web authors.

Tony moved to California in the fall of 1994 and went about building a presence for himself in Silicon Valley as a software consultant. He died the following spring in an auto accident on his way to work. Tony never had a chance to fulfill his computing dreams. This prize was created in his name with the goal of helping others to realize theirs.