Daniel Mark Lewin
May 14, 1970
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
|Died||September 11, 2001 (aged 31)|
|Cause of death||Stabbing|
|Education||Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (BA, BS)|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Home town||Jerusalem, Israel|
Daniel Mark Lewin (Hebrew: דניאל "דני" מארק לוין; May 14, 1970 – September 11, 2001), sometimes spelled Levin, was an American–Israeli mathematician and entrepreneur who co-founded internet company Akamai Technologies. A passenger onboard American Airlines Flight 11, it is believed that Lewin was stabbed by one of the hijackers of that flight, and was the first person murdered during the course of the attacks.
He attended the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa while simultaneously working at IBM'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 and SGS-Thomson.
Upon receiving a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in 1995, he traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to begin graduate studies toward a Ph.D at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1996. While there, he and his advisor, Professor F. Thomson Leighton, came up with consistent hashing, an innovative algorithm for optimizing Internet traffic. These algorithms became the basis for Akamai Technologies, 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.[by whom?]
Lewin was reportedly stabbed aboard American Airlines Flight 11 as it was hijacked during the September 11 attacks. A 2001 FAA memo suggests he may have been stabbed by Satam al-Suqami after attempting to foil the hijacking. According to the FAA, Lewin was seated in business class in seat 9B, close to hijackers Mohamed Atta, Abdulaziz al-Omari 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, Lewin was stabbed by one of the hijackers, probably Satam al Suqami, who was seated directly behind him. The commission speculates that this may have occurred during an attempt by Lewin to confront one of the hijackers in front of him, 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, Massachusetts, 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 (STOC) was also named the Danny Lewin Best Student Paper Award, in his honor. In 2011, on the tenth anniversary of his death, Lewin's contributions to the Internet were memorialized by friends and colleagues.
Lewin is the subject of the 2013 biography No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet by Molly Knight Raskin.
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