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Tom Leighton

Content Delivery Network

U.S. Patent No. 6,108,703
Inducted in 2017
Born Oct. 28, 1956

In the late 1990s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Mathematics Professor Dr. Tom Leighton and his graduate student Danny Lewin recognized that a solution to freeing up web congestion could be found using applied mathematics and algorithms. Leighton and Lewin invented the methods needed to intelligently replicate and deliver content over a large network of distributed servers, technology that would ultimately solve what was becoming a frustrating problem for Internet users known as the "World Wide Wait."

Leighton and Lewin founded Akamai Technologies in 1998 to help make the Internet be fast, reliable and secure for billions of users worldwide. Today, Akamai is the global leader in Content Delivery Network (CDN) and cloud security services, delivering tens of millions of transactions every second on behalf of the world's largest brands, including Airbnb, Apple, BMW, eBay, FedEx, Ford Motor Company, FOX, NASDAQ, NBC Olympics, PayPal,, Standard Chartered Bank, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Viacom.

Dr. Leighton served as Akamai's Chief Scientist for 14 years before becoming Chief Executive in 2013. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BSEE from Princeton University in 1978 and received a PhD in Applied Mathematics from MIT in 1981. He has served on the faculty of MIT as a Professor of Mathematics and a member of the University's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) since 1982.

Dr. Leighton holds over 40 U.S. patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, algorithms for networks, cryptography and digital rights management. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Leighton is one of the world's preeminent authorities on parallel algorithms for network applications, and his technology achievements at Akamai earned him recognition as one of the Top 10 Technology Innovators in U.S. News & World Report in 2001.

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