The extraordinary life of Daniel Lewin, founder of Akamai Technologies and father of CDN, victim of the terrorism attack on 11th of September at World Trade Center.

Only at the age of 31, Daniel Lewin lost his life in the terrorism attack to the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. We are talking about the founder of Akamai Technologies, one of the biggest player on the market about Content Delivery network (CDN).

Today we will tell you the story of Lewin and of how, tragically, his death has contributed indirectly to his company’s success.


It was 1998 when Lewin, together with 4 partners, founded Akamai Technologies, a business which helped a lot in the development of the internet network, becoming one of the most popular firm for Content Delivery Network (CDN) all around the world. The great insight of Lewin and co-workers was to figure out before others that the network needed an optimization system to get the maximum speed and transport capacity in the content delivery. And, through the creation of a sophisticate algorithm able to modelize bit streams in the network, they made it possible. The system developed by Lewin was aimed to optimize data flows and limit the overload of central servers (plus switch and router connected) when, for instance, a web content was required simultaneously by many users in different parts of the world. The system worked thanks to some optimization mechanisms built at the infrastructure network “borders”, which served both as a memory and as traffic regulators. These mechanisms created “copies” of contents, which were distributed at the borders of the network infrastructure and enable to maximise performance.

Lewin’s idea was innovative and could change the tech world, but his algorithm was finding hard to take off and huge expenses for research were putting the company in trouble. But, as an ex-captain of the Israelian Special Forces worthy of his title, he was not a man who would fall apart in the face of adversity and he believed in the power of his technological project. That 11th of September Lewin was on the wrong flight for the right reasons: he was going to Los Angeles in order to meet some potential customers for Akamai Technologies. It was just in that period that Lewin’s algorithm was starting to be defined in a more precise way with the name of Content Delivery Network (CDN).

But Lewin never reached the City of Angels. His ideas did it, and the company he founded got the response it deserved. Indeed, tragically, the attack hardly tested the network capacities but it was a turning point for Akamai Technologies. After that day, millions of users searched for information in internet and several downtimes and failures occurred, caused by peaks of requests that servers can’t totally handle. But the infrastructure survived, and it was also for Lewin and his partners’ studies.

Today Akamai represents one of the greatest company in the CDN market, although is not the only. Content Delivery Networks manage the 90% of internet traffic and allow you to optimize the size of multimedia (as such as images, video and audio). The purpose is to cut down waiting time and reduce overloads. In addition, CDNs are crucial to provide Cloud computing services and for data security and internet service availability. Nowadays, thanks to numerous tests and continuous improvements, the work performed by Lewin’s algorithm became very important for internet network. Companies cannot reproduce the same efficiency in the content delivery and replicate the entire infrastructure would cost too much. We just have to recognize one more time the great contribution of Lewin to technology and development of internet.

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