About Antonio “Tony” Pizzigati

Tony Pizzigati stands on a fire escape at MIT

Born in 1971, Tony jumped into the world of computers early on. At the age of 10, he programmed his first computer, and at 14, helped CISPES, the group that led opposition to Reagan-era U.S. policy in Central America, straighten out its database.

Tony would go on to earn a computer science degree from MIT and work at the world-famous MIT Media Lab and later the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. When only a very few people knew about the new universe called the World Wide Web, Tony was among the earliest web authors. After moving to California in 1994, he built a name for himself in Silicon Valley as a software consultant. Tony died the following spring in a car crash.

The Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest was created to honor Tony’s brief life and his early advocacy for open source computing. Tony never had a chance to fulfill his computing dreams. The prize commemorates his legacy by helping others realize theirs.