Tom Leighton


Science Talent Search 1974
International Science and Engineering Fair 1972 and 1973

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

Leighton’s work 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. Leighton’s 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, Leighton was also a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Leighton holds numerous patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, algorithms for networks, cryptography, and digital rights management. He has served on dozens of government, industrial and academic review committees; program committees; and editorial boards. He is a former chair of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Complexity Theory and a former editor-in-chief of the Journal of the ACM.

From 2003-2005, Leighton served on the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, during which time he chaired the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity. Leighton is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 100 research papers, and his leading text on parallel algorithms and architectures has been translated into several languages. Leighton graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a BS in Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT. Leighton is an alumnus of the 1974 Science Talent Search and the 1972 and 1973 International Science and Engineering Fair.

Dr. Leighton joined the Society’s Board of Trustees in 2009.