The Akamai Story: From Theory to Practice

author: F. Thomson Leighton, Department of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: Feb. 4, 2013,   recorded: April 2004,   views: 14614

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.


If you have ever wondered what it means for a website to become “Akamaized,” this lecture about the company’s origins explains much of the mystery. But before there was an Akamai, there were research problems—lots of them. Nearly 15 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee, architect of the World Wide Web, asked Tom Leighton to think about solutions to future -- and now familiar-- Internet issues: bottlenecks that form when users flood to a particular site, often along a single Internet supply line. Leighton’s team generated algorithms (and publications and advanced degrees) while figuring out the fastest means to move information from here to there. Along the way, they learned some tricks to outsmart Internet service providers who slow traffic down by bumping competitors’ data from their network lines. Akamai (which means clever and cool in Hawaiian) got its start in the MIT 50k competition, and took off when some big name clients decided to give the company a trial run. Paramount, ESPN, Apple, and Microsoft recognized the importance of Akamai’s Internet optimization strategy: distributing servers and routing software to the “edge” or end users, rather than centralizing services. Akamai survived the stock market “bubble” and collapse, and now serves a diverse global market.

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: