Tom Leighton

Tom Leighton

Awarded the Marconi Prize in 2018

Cited for pioneering the content delivery network services industry, now used to deliver trillions of content requests over the Internet every day.

Presented at the Pallazo Re Enzo in Bologna, Italy.

Dr. Leighton is the co-founder of Akamai Technologies, Inc., the world’s largest and most trusted cloud delivery platform. The company routes and replicates content over a gigantic network of distributed servers, using algorithms to find and utilize servers closest to the end user, thereby avoiding congestion at the center of the Internet. This cost-effectively scales the Internet by ensuring that content—whether it is a bank transaction that should be seen only by the account holder, or a live sporting event streamed to millions of viewers worldwide—reaches the end user quickly, reliably and securely.

“Dr. Leighton is the embodiment of what the Marconi Prize honors,” says Vint Cerf, Marconi Society Chairman and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. “He and his research partner, Danny Lewin, tackled one of the major problems limiting the power of the Internet, and when they developed the solution, they founded Akamai – now one of the premier technology companies in the world – to bring it to market. This story is truly remarkable.”

Dr. Leighton likes to say that Akamai’s role within the Internet revolution was to end the “World Wide Wait.” And he is the first to share the company’s success with co-founder Danny Lewin.  Leighton and Lewin incorporated Akamai in August of 1998.

Akamai continues to thrive, accelerating trillions of Internet requests each day, while protecting web and mobile assets from targeted application and DDoS attacks.

Dr. Leighton has served on numerous government, industry and academic advisory panels, including the Presidential Informational Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and of the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE), and he has participated in the Distinguished Lecture Series at CEE’s flagship program for high school students, the Research Science Institute (RSI).

In 2017, Leighton and Lewin were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, for Content Delivery Network methods. He was the first winner of the Machtey Award in 1981 and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 2008, he was appointed as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He received the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award in 2001. He was elected as an ACM Fellow in 2018 for “his leadership in the establishment of content delivery networks, and his contributions to algorithm design”.