The award is presented every other year by the by the Technology Academy Finland, which is maintained by the Finnish industry and the government in Finland.
Introduced in 2004, the Millennium Technology Prize is the largest technology award in existence and some say it is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for certain technological achievements. The total award is about $1.3 million, which is divided between the laureates.
Torvalds is honored for creating the Linux operating systems and making it available free of charge. In a statement the Technology Academy Finland said that development of Linux to date is equal to the investment of 73,000 man-years and has touched the lives of "millions, if not billions" of people.
Next to Torvalds, Shinya Yamanaka will be awarded with the Prize for his achievement to develop an induced pluripotent stem cells for medical research that do not rely on the use of embryonic stem cells.
The award ceremony will take place in Helsinki, Finland, on June 13.