May 2004

Internet Structure: The Global Nervous System
41 pages

This report examines the current state of knowledge about the structure of the Internet, organizes key issues and puts them in context, and succinctly explains how technologies work.

The Internet is vast -- it connects more than 230 million servers and billions of Web pages that contain hundreds of terabytes of data -- and its size holds the key to the network's deeper nature. Because it is too big for any one group or organization to design or control, its structure is governed by natural laws.

Researchers are leveraging the structural patterns of the physical Internet and of the linked pages that make up the World Wide Web to improve searching and browsing, and to shore up the network against physical and software attacks.

The Internet also serves as an easily-measurable and observable network that can inform scientists about many other networks, including social networks, chemicals used in life processes, and mobile phone connections.

The report includes an executive summary, a list of 16 developments to look for as these cutting-edge technologies take shape and a section of 12 researchers to watch, including links to their Web pages. It also includes a quick tour of 30 recent developments and a section of 28 in-depth news stories from TRN.

The main report contains the following sections: The elephant and the blind men; networks all around; geography, politics, economics and fractals; links; link patterns; link dynamics; getting there in fewer hops; taking short paths; communities of interest; perceptions; weak points; the nature of networks; the internet phenomenon.

The in-depth news stories are organized into the following categories: layout, links, hops, content, vulnerabilities, network comparisons.

TRN's Making the Future reports contain live links, and can be read on a computer, printed and archived.

Buy the the Internet Structure report for $89.
. You will receive download instructions via email.

Report Sections

Executive Summary:
292 words

Main Report:
3,267 words

How It Works:
554 words

In-Depth Stories:
28 stories

Table of Contents:

Main Report
The elephant and the blind men
Networks all around
Geography, politics, economics and fractals
Link patterns
Link dynamics
Getting there in fewer hops
Taking short paths
Communities of interest
Weak points
The nature of networks
The Internet phenomenon

How It Works

Link structure

In-Depth Story Categories
Network Comparisons

Take a look at all available Making the Future reports.

View a four-page sample of the Making the Future report (pdf).

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