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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. <p>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. </p>
Internet, Web, power laws

S. Robinson, "Recent Research Provides New Picture of Router-Level Internet," in Computing in Science & Engineering, vol. 8, no. , pp. 3-6, 2006.
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