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Personal Profile of Dr. Tom Leighton


Tom Leighton co-founded Akamai Technologies in August 1998. Serving as Chief Scientist and as a Director to the Board, Dr. Leighton is Akamai’s technology visionary, as well as a key member of the Executive Committee, setting the company’s direction.

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 60,000 servers in 750 cities. Dr. Leighton’s technology achievements at Akamai earned him recognition as one of the Top 10 Technology Innovators in U.S. News & World Report.

A Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT, 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, the nation’s premier journal for computer science research. 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 Science.

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 BS in Engineering. He received his PhD in Mathematics from MIT.

Dr. Leighton serves as a Trustee for several charitable organizations, including, the Akamai Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Museum of Science, Boston, the Center for Excellence in Education, and the Society for Science and the Public (formerly Science Service).

Current/Future Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Emeriti Trustees Mar 01, 2017 Feb 28, 2026

Past Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Board of Trustees Apr 01, 2001 Apr 01, 2005
Board of Trustees Mar 05, 2005 Mar 01, 2009
Board of Trustees Mar 02, 2009 Feb 28, 2013
Committee on Women in Mathematics Oct 12, 2007 Feb 28, 2013
Development Committee Oct 05, 2007 Mar 01, 2013
Education Committee Mar 01, 2003 Feb 28, 2013
Educational Advisory Committee Mar 01, 2008 Feb 28, 2013