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Israeli University Team Produces Detailed Map of the Internet

A team of Israeli university researchers has finished a project to map the structure of the Internet, which involved some 5,000 volunteers, who downloaded software to help identify Internet nodes and connections between them.

The study, by Bar-Ilan University physicist Shai Carmi, concluded that peer to peer network routing could benefit the Internet by improving efficiency and avoiding congestion, according to a report in the MIT Technology Review. The researchers also found that the Internet comprises about 80 key intersection points, or nodes, in the midst of about 5,000 intermittently linked dependent nodes.

The outer and central nodes are separated by about 15,000 self-sufficient, peer-connected nodes. Without the core nodes, about 30 percent of the outer nodes are completely isolated, the researchers found. Yet the middle regional has enough peer-connections to keep about 70 percent of the outer nodes online.

Carmi thinks these alternate routes should be exploited to prevent the core nodes from becoming congested, which could significantly boost Internet efficiency.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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