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Akamai Co-Founder Dr. Tom Leighton Wins 2018 Marconi Prize

3 October 2018

Dr. Frank Thomson “Tom” Leighton, who developed the algorithms now used to deliver trillions of content requests over the Internet every day, has been awarded with the 2018 Marconi Prize, during The Marconi Society’s annual Awards Dinner in Bologna, Italy, on October 2.

The Marconi Society, dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the Internet, is honoring Leighton for his fundamental contributions to technology and the establishment of the content delivery network (CDN) industry.

Dr. Leighton is the co-founder of Akamai Technologies, Inc., the world’s largest and most trusted cloud delivery platform. The company routes and replicates content over a gigantic network of distributed servers, using algorithms to find and utilize servers closest to the end user, thereby avoiding congestion at the center of the Internet. This cost-effectively scales the Internet by ensuring that content—whether it is a bank transaction that should be seen only by the account holder, or a live sporting event streamed to millions of viewers worldwide—reaches the end user quickly, reliably and securely.

“Dr. Leighton is the embodiment of what the Marconi Prize honors,” says Vint Cerf, Marconi Society Chairman and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. “He and his research partner, Danny Lewin, tackled one of the major problems limiting the power of the Internet, and when they developed the solution, they founded Akamai – now one of the premier technology companies in the world – to bring it to market. This story is truly remarkable.”

The Marconi Prize is awarded annually to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of communications for the benefit of humankind through scientific or technological discoveries. Recipients of the Marconi Prize are designated Marconi Fellows.  Marconi Fellows embody the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and technical innovation of Guglielmo Marconi, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing radio.  Marconi Fellows are among the most esteemed scientists in the world, and continue to build our connected world by mentoring young researchers, founding companies and advising government and technical organizations around the world.

Moreover, The Marconi Society offers the annual Paul Baran Young Scholar Award. This award recognizes a diverse group of young scientists and engineers with the potential to make extraordinary contributions in the field of information and communications science.

The ceremony took place on the 2nd of October in Guglielmo Marconi's birth house "Villa Griffone" during the Marconi Society's Symposium that has been organized by The Guglielmo Marconi Foundation.