F. Thomson Leighton

Frank Thomson "Tom" Leighton (born 1956) is the CEO of Akamai Technologies, the company he co-founded with Daniel Lewin in 1998.[1] Akamai has become the top content delivery provider in the 21st century with the arrival of dedicated techs. As one of the world's preeminent authorities on algorithms for network applications and cybersecurity, Dr. Leighton discovered a solution to freeing up web congestion using applied mathematics and distributed computing.[2]

Frank Thomson Leighton
Born1956 (age 6263)
Alma materPrinceton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AwardsMarconi Prize (2018)
NAE Member
NAS Member
AAAS Fellow
Scientific career
FieldsApplied Mathematics
InstitutionsAkamai Technologies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ThesisLayouts for the shuffle-exchange graph and lower bound techniques for VLSI (1981)
Doctoral advisorGary Miller
Doctoral studentsPeter Shor, Mohammad Hajiaghayi, Robert Kleinberg

He is on leave as 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 received his B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University in 1978, and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT in 1981.[3] His brother David T. Leighton is a full professor at the University of Notre Dame, specializing in transport phenomena.[4] Their father was a U.S. Navy colleague and friend of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, a founder of the Research Science Institute (RSI).

Dr. Leighton has served on numerous government, industry and academic advisory panels, including the Presidential Informational Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) and chaired its subcommittee on cybersecurity.[5] 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).

Awards and honors

In 2018, Leighton won the Marconi Prize from the Marconi Society for "his fundamental contributions to the technology and establishment of content delivery networks" [6]. In 2017, Leighton and Lewin were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, for Content Delivery Network methods.[7] 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.[8] 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".[9]


  • 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.
  • Mathematics for Computer Science (with Eric Lehman and Albert R. Meyer, 2010)


  1. Erik Nygren, Ramesh Sitaraman, and Jennifer Sun. "The Akamai Network: A Platform for High-Performance Internet Applications, ACM SIGOPS" (PDF). Operating Systems Review. 44. July 2010.
  2. "National Inventors Hall of Fame". www.invent.org. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  3. Leighton, Frank Thomson (1981). Layouts for the shuffle-exchange graph and lower bound techniques for VLSI (Ph.D.). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. OCLC 4433998366 via ProQuest.
  4. "David Leighton — College of Engineering". Engineering.nd.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  5. "Dr. Tom Leighton, CEO | Executive Team". Akamai.com. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  6. "Professor Tom Leighton wins 2018 Marconi Prize" MIT News, March 23, 2018.
  7. "Professor Tom Leighton and Danny Lewin SM ’98 named to National Inventors Hall of Fame," MIT News, February 2, 2017.
  8. "List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society". Ams.org. 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  9. 2018 ACM Fellows Honored for Pivotal Achievements that Underpin the Digital Age, Association for Computing Machinery, December 5, 2018

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