SHWED, GIL (1968– ), founder, chairman, and CEO of Check Point Software Technologies. Shwed is considered the prodigy of Israeli high-tech. He began his programming career at the age of 12 in a company that dealt with artificial intelligence. Later he took courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem while still in high school. In the army he served in an Intelligence unit responsible for electronic data gathering. In 1993, at the age of 25, he developed, together with Check Point's two co-founders, the first firewall, the company's well-known security software product. In the following years, he led Check Point to global leadership in both the firewall and VPN markets, making Check Point a giant in the Internet security industry. Shwed has received numerous prizes and honors for his individual achievements and industrial contributions, including the Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award for his innovative contribution to business and technology in 2002; the World Economic Forum's Global Leader for Tomorrow Award for his commitment to public affairs and leadership in areas beyond immediate professional interests in 2003; and an honorary doctor of science from Israel's Technion in 2004.