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Jewish Journal

Daniel C. Lewin, 31

by Michael Aushenker

September 20, 2001 | 8:00 pm

Among the 91 victims aboard American Airlines Flight 11 was Daniel C. Lewin, (left) chief technology officer of the Cambridge-based Akamai Technologies, Inc., a company that modified the process of Internet content delivery.

Lewin, 31, was born in Denver and raised partly in Israel. He was an inventive mathematician trained at Technion and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who turned Akamai into a Forbes magazine success story.

Randall Kaplan, one of Akamai's four founding partners and CEO of Jump Investors in Brentwood, said it was important for him to share memories of Lewin with his extended family and the Jewish community, and to recall a great human being who accomplished so much in such a short time.

Before Kaplan met Lewin for an interview at Akamai, he was told that "Danny was one of the smartest human beings on the planet." Kaplan was immediately impressed by Lewin's intelligence and the fundamental technology that would establish Akamai as an industry leader.

Kaplan and Lewin, along with Lewin's mentor, MIT Professor of Applied Mathematics Tom Leighton, and first year MIT Sloan MBA student Jonathan Seelig, formed Akamai. Lewin and Leighton comprised the technological half of the company's equation. Akamai's October 1999 initial public offering, which peaked at $344 a share, was one of the Internet's biggest success stories,

"It's hard for somebody like me to accurately describe Danny's contributions. No matter how many awards and accolades that he won, none of them do justice to his brilliance. You had to have known him to really understand what a special individual he was. He was 10 times more productive than the next smartest person. He could go days on end without any rest. He was very driven. He almost always got what he wanted. He simply refused to take no for an answer."

Lewin was also a role model beyond his profession. He had pursued two undergrad degrees at the Technion while raising two children with his wife. He was also a proud Jew.

"I remember taking a cab ride with him one day," Kaplan recalled, "and he told me how important it was that I go to Israel and see what it's about. Since I had never been there at the time, I didn't understand why it was so important. When I went last year, I understood. I thought of him. It was a very important event in my life as a Jew. His words rang true."

"He was without any doubt whatsoever the most talented and smartest individual I had ever met."

Contributions in Lewin's memory can be made to the Daniel Lewin Science Scholarship Fund, Hale and Dorr Capital Management LLC , 60 State Street, Boston, MA 02019.

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