Each year, the anniversary of September 11, 2001, is memorialized through Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.
The attacks that took place 18 years ago shook our nation to its core and challenged its resilience. Among the lives tragically lost, there were also stories of immense bravery and sacrifice made by those looking to help their fellow citizens. Thanks to the courageous souls who responded to these events with compassion, our country was slowly able to rebuild.
During this year’s Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) recognizes an inventor who was lost on September 11, yet whose work continues to contribute to reaching new frontiers of technology.
In the late 1990s, MIT graduate student and NIHF Inductee Danny Lewin worked with mathematics professor and NIHF Inductee Tom Leighton to devise methods of freeing up web congestion. Lewin and Leighton invented a way to intelligently replicate and deliver content over a large network of distributed servers. This technology would go on to solve the frustrating problem known as the "World Wide Wait." Together, the duo founded Akamai Technologies in Cambridge in 1998 to help improve internet speed and reliability for users everywhere.
As a graduate student, Lewin published several breakthrough papers on computer science and received many accolades. Before co-founding Akamai, he worked at IBM's research laboratory in Haifa, Israel, as a research fellow and project leader while also completing two undergraduate degrees at the Technion, Israel's premier technology university. Lewin additionally served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces for over four years.
Tragically, Lewin was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11, which was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11. At the time, Lewin was a Ph.D. candidate at MIT and held one U.S. patent (25 more have been issued in his name since then). He was also married and a father to two young sons.
Lewin and Leighton’s dedication to connecting people and information launched an industry that has helped our world progress. After all, it was Lewin’s tenacity and commitment to advancing computer science that Leighton says led to Akamai’s mantra, “Faster Forward.” The forward thinking that Lewin contributed continues to be part of an important technology legacy, and his impact is something we will honor for years to come.
Learn More About Our Inductees
More information about the fascinating lives of NIHF Inductees and their groundbreaking inventions can be found on our website and blog. To see how NIHF honors invention throughout the year, check out our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook page.