Daniel M. Lewin
Daniel "Danny" Mark Lewin ; (May 14, 1970 – September 11, 2001) was an American-Israeli mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

 and entrepreneur
An entrepreneur is an owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative.The term was originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to a person who is willing to...

 best known for co-founding internet company Akamai Technologies
Akamai Technologies
Akamai Technologies, Inc. is an Internet content delivery network headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US.The company was founded in 1998 by then-MIT graduate student Daniel M. Lewin, and MIT Applied Mathematics professor Tom Leighton...

. He died in the September 11 attacks.

Early life

Lewin was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the Israeli capital Jerusalem.


He served for four years in the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 as an officer in Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

, one of the more notable IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 special forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 units. Lewin earned the rank of captain.

He attended the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 while simultaneously working at IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

'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
Advanced Micro Devices
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. or AMD is an American multinational semiconductor company based in Sunnyvale, California, that develops computer processors and related technologies for commercial and consumer markets...

 and SGS-Thomson
STMicroelectronics is an Italian-French electronics and semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.While STMicroelectronics corporate headquarters and the headquarters for EMEA region are based in Geneva, the holding company, STMicroelectronics N.V. is registered in Amsterdam,...


Upon receiving a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 and a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

, summa cum laude
Latin honors
Latin honors are Latin phrases used to indicate the level of academic distinction with which an academic degree was earned. This system is primarily used in the United States, Canada, and in many countries of continental Europe, though some institutions also use the English translation of these...

, in 1995, he traveled to Cambridge
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

, Massachusetts, to begin graduate studies toward a Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 (MIT) in 1996. While there, he and his advisor, Professor F. Thomson Leighton
F. Thomson Leighton
Frank Thomson "Tom" Leighton is a professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has served as the head of the Algorithms group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory since 1996, and co-founded Akamai Technologies with student Daniel...

, came up with innovative algorithms for optimizing Internet traffic. These algorithms became the basis for Akamai, which the two founded in 1998. Lewin served as the company's chief technology officer and 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.

Death and legacy

Lewin is survived by his wife Anne and his two sons, Eitan and Itamar, who were aged five and eight during the September 2001 attacks.

Lewin was fatally stabbed aboard American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11 was American Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight from Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California...

 as it was hijacked during the September 11 attacks. A 2002 FAA memo suggests he may have been killed by Satam al-Suqami
Satam al-Suqami
A law student, Satam Muhammed Abdel Rahman al-Suqami was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 as part of the September 11 attacks....

 after he attempted to foil the hijacking. According to the FAA, Lewin was seated in business class in seat 9B, close to hijackers Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta was one of the masterminds and the ringleader of the September 11 attacks who served as the hijacker-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, crashing the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the coordinated attacks.Born in 1968...

 and al Suqami (who was possibly seated behind him). It was first reported that he had been shot by al Suqami, although this assertion was later changed to a stabbing. According to the 9/11 Commission
9/11 Commission
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was set up on November 27, 2002, "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks", including preparedness for and the immediate response to...

, Lewin may have been stabbed in the throat whilst trying to foil the hijacking, not knowing that al Suqami was sitting just behind him. Lewin was identified as the first victim of the September 11 attacks.

After his death, the intersection of Main and Vassar Streets in Cambridge was renamed "Danny Lewin Square" in his honor. The award given to the best student-authored paper at the ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
Symposium on Theory of Computing
STOC, the Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing is an academic conference in the field of theoretical computer science. STOC has been organized annually since 1969, typically in May or June; the conference is sponsored by the Association for Computer Machinery special interest group SIGACT.As...

 (STOC) was named after him as the Danny Lewin Best Student Paper Award.

At the National 9/11 Memorial, Lewin is memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-75.


  • 1995 – Technion named him the year's Outstanding Student in Computer Engineering.
  • 1998 – Morris Joseph Levin Award for Best Masterworks Thesis Presentation at MIT.

External links

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