Heart wrenching - read the whole thing @ the link. Working in NYC at the time, while I didn't know anyone personally killed on 9/11, but a lot of people I knew did at the time - in terms of absolute numbers, the tragedy was relatively limited, but those who were lost were also some of the most productive in the world. It's entrepreneurs like this who actively work to shape and improve the world.


A lost spirit still inspires

After its founder was killed on Sept. 11 and its business damaged in the aftermath, Akamai slid to the edge of failure. What it still had were Daniel Lewin’s technology and vision.

[...] In 1996, when Daniel Lewin, a former Israeli commando with a bachelor’s degree from Technion, Israel’s famed scientific university, began his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, computer scientists already knew the Internet would do a lousy job of managing big spikes in traffic. Companies could prepare only by buying vast numbers of extra servers that would be idle most of the time, a big waste of money.

Lewin was already hungry for a challenge like that. “Danny had the kind of mind that comes and says, ‘Well, this is a big problem. Why shouldn’t there be a solution?’ ’’ recalled his MIT professor and Akamai cofounder, Tom Leighton. “And sure enough, he figured out a solution.’’

The Internet needed a better way to instantly locate vast amounts of quickly changing data stored on computers all over the world, and send it to anybody, anywhere. What Lewin and Leighton invented was a mathematical scheme called “consistent hashing’’ that radically sped up the process. Just as important, the system could “scale’’- meaning it would work even as many more people used it. It made possible the advanced Internet services we use today.

Lewin’s innovation allows millions of users to watch streaming video simultaneously, for example, and keeps news websites online during global crises as viewers rush for the latest information.