Tom Leighton

Tom Leighton


Tom Leighton is a Professor of Applied Mathematics and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. He was head of the Algorithms Group from its inception in 1996 until 1998, when he co-founded Akamai Technologies. Currently on leave from MIT, he serves as Akamai’s CEO and member of the board of directors.

Professor Leighton is a preeminent authority on algorithms for network applications, and has published over 100 papers on algorithms, cryptography, parallel architectures, distributed computing, combinatorial optimization, and graph theory. He also holds numerous patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, algorithms for networks, cryptography, and digital rights management.

He received his B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton in 1978, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from MIT in 1981. He joined the MIT Mathematics faculty in 1982, and became Professor in 1989.

Professor Leighton has served on numerous governmental, industrial and academic committees. From 2003-05, he served as Chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee on Cyber Security. His many distinctions include the IEEE Babbage Award, the MIT Entrepreneurship Award, the ACM-SIGACT Distinguished Service Prize, and being named as a member of the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) Innovators Hall of Fame and one of the Ten Top Technology Innovators by US News and World Report. Professor Leighton is a Fellow (and Member of the Trust) of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2014 he was elected to the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences.


  • "Hypercubic Sorting Networks," SIAM J. Comput. Vol. 27, 1998, no.1, pp.1-47 (with C. G. Plaxton)
  • "Processor-Ring Communication: A Tight Asymptotic Bound on Packet Waiting Times," SIAM J. Comput.Vol. 27, 1998, no. 5, pp. 1221-1236 (with E. G. Coffman Jr. and N. Kahale).
  • ``Tight Analyses of Two Local Load Balancing Algorithms,'' SIAM J. Comput. Vol. 29, 1999, No. 1, pp. 29-64, (with B. Ghosh, B. Maggs, S. Muthukrishnan, G. Plaxton, R. Rajaraman, A. Richa, R. Tarjan, and D. Zuckerman).
  • "On the Fault Tolerance of Some Popular Bounded-Degree Networks," SIAM J. Comput.,Vol. 27, 1998, no. 5, pp.1303-1333 (with B. Maggs and R. Sitaraman).
  • "Automatic Methods for Hiding Latency in Parallel and Distributed Computation," SIAM J. Comput.,1999, Vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 615-647 (with M. Andrews, P. T. Metaxas, and L. Zhang).
  • "Reconstructing a three-dimensional model with arbitrary errors," J. ACM,1999, Vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 212-235 (with B. Berger and J. Kleinberg).
  • "Tight Bounds for On-Line Tree Embeddings," SIAM J. Comput.,1999, Vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 474-491 (with S. Bhatt, D. Greenberg, and P. Liu).
  • "Tight Analyses of Two Local Load Balancing Algorithms. SIAM J. Comput., Vol. 29, 1999, No. 1, pp. 29-64, (with B. Ghosh, B. Maggs, S. Muthukrishnan, C. G. Plaxton, R. Rajaraman, A. Richa, Robert E. Tarjan, and D. Zuckerman).
  • "Multicommodity max-flow min-cut theorems and their use in designing approximation algorithms," J. ACM,1999, Vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 787-832 (with S. Rao).
  • "Tight Bounds on the Size of Fault-Tolerant Merging and Sorting Networks with Destructive Faults," SIAM J. Comput.,2000, Vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 258-273 (with Y. Ma).
  • "Compression using efficient multicasting," J. Comput. Syst. Sci.,2001, Vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 127-145 (with M. Adler).
  • "General Dynamic Routing with Per-Packet Delay Guarantees of O(Distance + 1/Session Rate).," SIAM J. Comput.,2001, Vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 1594-1623 (with M. Andrews, A. Fernandez, M. Harchol-Balter, and L. Zhang).
  • "Universal-stability results and performance bounds for greedy contention-resolution protocols". JACM 48(1): 2001, pp. 39-69 (with M. Andrews, B. Awerbuch, A. Fernández, Z. Liu, J.M. Kleinberg:).
  • "New Algorithmic Aspects of the Local Lemma with Applications to Routing and Partitioning," SIAM J. Comput.,2001, Vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 626-641 (with C-J, Lu, S. Rao, and A. Srinivasan).
  • "Fractal Merkle Tree Representation and Traversal", RSA-CT conference, 2003 (with M. Jakobsson , S. Micali and M. Szydlo) .
  • "Consistent load balancing via spread minimization," Proc. of the thirty-fifth annual ACM symposium on Theory of computing,2003, pp. 565-574 (with R. Kleinberg).
  • "The Value of Knowing a Demand Curve: Bounds on Regret for Online Posted-Price Auctions," Proc. of the 44th Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science,2003,p. 594 (with R. Kleinberg).
  • JACM 1991-1997, J. ACM, 2003, Vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 19-19.
  • "The Challenges of Delivering Content and Applications on the Internet," Proc. of the 14th International Workshop on Research Issues on Data Engineering: Web Services for E-Commerce and E-Government Applications (RIDE'04),2004, p. 65.
  • "Oblivious Routing on Node-Capacitated and Directed Graphs", in Proceedings of the 16th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, January 23-25, 2005, pp 782-790. (with M.T. Hajiaghayi; R.D. Kleinberg; and H. Raecke)
  • "Online Client-Server Load Balancing Without Global Information," in Proceedings of the 16th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA),Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, January 23-25, 2005, pp.197-206. (with B. Awerbuch; M.T. Hajiaghayi; and R.D. Kleinberg)
  • "Oblivious routing in directed graphs with random demands," ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2005, pp. 193-201 (with M.T. Hajiahgayi; J.H. Kim; and H. Raecke).


  • Massachusetts Academy of Science: Fellow (2013)
  • National Academy of Sciences: Member (2008)
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory: Distinguished Service Prize (2006)
  • National Academy of Engineering: Member (2004)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Fellow (2003)
  • MIT: Entrepreneurship Award (2001)
  • Forbes Magazine: Technology's 100 Highest Rollers (2001)
  • Mass: High Tech Award (2000)
  • US News: Top 10 Technology Innovators (2000)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Babbage Award (2000)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Best Paper Award (Image and Multimedimensional Signal (1999)