The Akamai Story: From Theory to Practice

Tom LeightonCo-founder, Chief Executive Officer
Akamai Technologies

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Electrical Engineering Building (EEB 132) Lecture 3:00 PM
Electrical Engineering Building Courtyard Reception 4:00 PM
Hosted by Paul Bogdan and Viktor Prasanna

Everyone and everything is getting connected, resulting in enormous expectations for the Hyperconnected World (aka, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything). In this lecture, we will talk about three Grand Challenges created by the explosive proliferation of connected devices. We will also talk about how early theoretical work on these challenges at MIT led to the creation of a company that today accelerates and secures the delivery of many of the world’s most important applications and web sites.

Dr. Tom Leighton co-founded Akamai Technologies in 1998, and served as Akamai’s Chief Scientist for 14 years before becoming Chief Executive. Dr. Leighton is Akamai’s technology visionary and leads the senior management team in setting the company’s strategic direction, while engaging directly with customers and partners from around the globe. He is also a member of the Board of Directors.

As one of the world’s preeminent authorities on algorithms for network applications, Dr. Leighton’s work behind establishing Akamai was based on recognizing that a solution to freeing up Web congestion could be found in applied mathematics and algorithms. Akamai has demonstrated this through the creation of the world’s largest distributed computing platform that dynamically routes content and applications across a network of over 100,000 servers. Dr. Leighton’s technology achievements at Akamai earned him recognition as one of the Top 10 Technology Innovators in U.S. News & World Report.

Prior to his role as CEO of Akamai, Dr. Leighton was also a Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Dr. Leighton holds numerous patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, algorithms for networks, cryptography, and digital rights management. During the course of his career, he has served on dozens of government, industrial and academic review committees; program committees; and editorial boards. He is a former two-term chair of the 2,000-member Association of Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Complexity Theory, and a former two-term editor-in-chief of the Journal of the ACM. From 2003 to 2005, Dr. Leighton served on the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), during which time he chaired the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity. Dr. Leighton is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Leighton has published more than 100 research papers, and his leading text on parallel algorithms and architectures has been translated into several languages. Dr. Leighton graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a B.S. in Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT.

Published on September 27th, 2016

Last updated on August 2nd, 2023