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March/April 2006 (vol. 8 no. 2)
pp. 3-6
Although the Internet is manmade, its exact structure is a mystery. Most of its component networks are owned and managed by private companies that keep their hardware specifications secret for commercial and security reasons. In this respect, the Internet--routers and the network hops between them--has much in common with other real-world networks, such as the World Wide Web. They, too, have formed organically, and their topologies and growth patterns remain elusive.

In the late 1990s, several groups of researchers published studies suggesting that the graphs of many such real-world networks are "heavy-tailed"--meaning they have an unexpectedly large number of high-degree nodes. Following these studies, physicists at the University of Notre Dame, led by Albert-Laszlo Barab?si, published two highly influential papers describing a growth mechanism that might explain this phenomenon as well as a key feature of networks generated by it: an Achilles heel.

Index Terms:
Internet, Web, power laws
Citation:
Sara Robinson, "Recent Research Provides New Picture of Router-Level Internet," Computing in Science and Engineering, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 3-6, March-April 2006, doi:10.1109/MCSE.2006.31
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