• 1970 May 14
    (b.) -
    2001 September 11


An American-Israeli mathematician and entrepreneur, he co-founded Internet company, Akamai Technologies, a cloud services provider headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Akamai's content delivery network is one of the world's largest distributed computing platforms, responsible for serving between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic. He was born in Denver, Colorado, but his family emigrated to Israel in 1983. Upon completing public high school, ORT, in Jerusalem, he served four years in the Israel Defense Forces as an officer in Sayeret Matkal; one of the more notable IDF special forces units where he to the rank of captain. Following his active military service, he was married in Jerusalem and began his studies at the Technion, Israel's premier technology university in Haifa while simultaneously working at IBM's research laboratory in the city. While at IBM, he was responsible for developing the Genesys system, a processor verification tool that is used widely within IBM and in other companies such as Advanced Micro Devices and SGS-Thomson. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude in 1995, he and his family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1996, where he received a scholarship and began graduate studies toward a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the tutelage of MIT Professor, and soon to become close friend, F. Thomson Leighton. He received a Master's degree from MIT in 1997 and was a Ph.D. candidate in the Algorithms group at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. While at MIT, he and his advisor came up with innovative algorithms for optimizing Internet traffic. These algorithms became the basis for Akamai Technologies, which the two founded in 1998 along with fellow graduate student, Jonathan Seelig. He published and presented several breakthrough papers at top computer science conferences and received several awards, including the 1998 Morris Joseph Lewin Award for Best Masterworks Thesis Presentation at MIT. As Chief Technology Officer, he was responsible for Akamai's research and development strategy, creating innovative Internet infrastructure services that would produce an entirely new industry segment, and forever change the way people and companies distribute content, data, and applications. He also served as a Board member; and during the height of the Internet boom achieved great wealth. He was posthumously named one of the most influential figures of the Internet age. He died in the September 11, 2001 attacks. A passenger on American Airlines Flight 11, it is believed that he was likely stabbed by one of the hijackers of that flight, and may have been the first person killed during the course of the attacks. He is survived by his wife, Anne and their two sons, who were aged five and eight at the time of the attacks. After his death, the intersection of Main and Vassar Streets in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was renamed Danny Lewin Square in his honor. Also, the award given to the best student-authored paper at the ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC) was named the Danny Lewin Best Student Paper Award, in his honor. In 2011, on the tenth anniversary of his death, his lasting contributions to the Internet were memorialized by friends and colleagues who knew him. He is the subject of the 2013 biography No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet by Molly Knight Raskin, published by Da Capo Press. In 1995, Technion named him the year's Outstanding Student in Computer Engineering and in 1998 he was awarded the Morris Joseph Levin Award for Best Masterworks Thesis Presentation at MIT.
  • Date of Birth:

    1970 May 14
  • Date of Death:

    2001 September 11
  • Noted For:

    Co-creator of innovative Internet infrastructure services producing an entirely new industry segment, and forever change the way people and companies distribute content, data, and applications
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: