F. Thomson Leighton
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|F. Thomson Leighton|
|Born||1956 (age 60–61)|
|Alma mater||Princeton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Doctoral advisor||Gary Miller|
|Doctoral students||Peter Shor, Mohammad Hajiaghayi, Robert Kleinberg|
Dr. Tom Leighton co-founded Akamai Technologies in 1998 and served as Akamai’s Chief Scientist until he became its CEO in 2013. Under Dr. Leighton’s leadership, Akamai has evolved from its origins as a Content Delivery Network (CDN) into one of the most essential and trusted cloud delivery and cybersecurity platforms, upon which many of the world’s best brands and enterprises build and secure their digital experiences. During his initial four years as CEO, Akamai’s revenue and profit grew by 70%, and annual revenue from Akamai’s security business grew 15-fold to more than $400 million per year.
As one of the world's pre-eminent authorities on algorithms for network applications and cybersecurity, Dr. Leighton discovered a solution to freeing up web congestion using applied mathematics and distributed computing. Akamai used this technology to create the world's largest distributed computing platform, which today delivers and secures tens of millions of requests per second to billions of users around the world.
Dr. Leighton holds more than 50 patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, algorithms for networks, cryptography and digital rights management. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2017 for his inventions in content delivery.
Dr. Leighton is a Professor of Applied Mathematics and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is currently on leave due to his responsibilities at Akamai but delights in continuing to teach a course in discrete mathematics to hundreds of MIT undergrads every other fall.
Dr. Leighton has been personally committed to increasing the pipeline of students pursuing STEM careers for over thirty years, first as a mathematics professor at MIT and now through his leadership at Akamai. He is a strong supporter of the Akamai Foundation, which promotes mathematics education, and he oversaw the creation of the Akamai Technical Academy, an innovative program developed in-house and aimed at training diverse non-technical professionals for technical careers. He also supports numerous charitable organizations dedicated to improving STEM education and opportunities for K-12 students, including The Center for Excellence in Education, the Society for Science and the Public (sponsor of the Intel Science Search), The Mathematical Association of America (sponsor of the Math Olympiad), the Math Competition for Girls, and Girls Who Code.
Dr. Leighton has served on numerous academic, industrial, and governmental advisory panels. He is one of nine CEOs who make up the Technology CEO Council, the information technology industry's leading CEO advocacy organization. And he was one of 18 CEOs invited to the White House in 2017 for the launch of the American Technology Council to develop solutions to modernize and secure the U.S. government’s IT systems. From 2003 to 2005, he served on the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee and chaired its Subcommittee on Cybersecurity.
Dr. Leighton graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from MIT
Awards and honors
In 1981, he became the first winner of the Machtey Award at the annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science, and in 2001 he received the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award for contributions in the field of parallel computing. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2017, he was included in the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his technology achievements at Akamai.
Books and research papers
Dr. Leighton has published more than 100 research papers, and his leading text on parallel algorithms and architectures has been translated into multiple languages.
- Mathematics for Computer Science by Eric Lehman, F. Thomson Leighton, and Albert R. Meyer (Samurai Media Limited, 2017), ISBN 978-9888407064.
- Introduction to Parallel Algorithms and Architectures: Arrays, Trees, Hypercubes (Morgan Kaufmann, 1991), ISBN 1-55860-117-1.
- Complexity Issues in VLSI: Optimal layouts for the shuffle-exchange graph and other networks, (MIT Press, 1983), ISBN 0-262-12104-2.