Tom Leighton is a Professor of Applied Mathematics and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. In 1998, he co-founded Akamai Technologies, where he is currently the CEO and a member of the Board of Directors. As one of the world’s preeminent authorities on algorithms for network applications and cybersecurity, he discovered a solution to freeing up web congestion using applied mathematics and distributed computing. He holds more than 50 patents involving content delivery, internet protocols, algorithms for networks, cryptography, and digital rights management. He received his B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton 1978, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from MIT in 1981. He joined the MIT Mathematics faculty in 1982, and became Professor in 1989.
He and Akamai’s co-founder Danny Lewin were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2017 for having “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.’ ” In 2018, the Marconi Society selected him to receive the Marconi Prize for “his fundamental contributions to technology and the establishment of content delivery networks.” IEEE awarded him the John von Neumann Medal in 2023 for “fundamental contributions to algorithm design and their application to content delivery networks.”