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As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But when you're talking about a picture of the Internet, it's worth a whole lot more (about 100 trillion words according to Google's director of research, Peter Norvig). Creating a complete map of the Internet is a goal that has remained largely elusive because of the ever-growing, highly complex nature of the Net. Now, through the efforts of researchers in Israel--from Bar-Ilan University, in Ramat Gan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Tel-Aviv University--the fuzzy image of the Internet has just gotten a bit clearer. The Israeli team recently published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in which they construct a new, more accurate picture of the Internet using a combination of graph-theory analysis and distributed computing.

A network like the Internet is composed of various nodes, or devices, such as computers, routers, PDAs, and so on, that are linked by one or more physical or virtual paths. To determine the structure of the Internet, researchers had to map out all these nodes and links and their relationships to one another. The main problem previous Internet cartographers faced was insufficient information. Data about network structure had been acquired through a limited number of observation points--computers using a software tool called traceroute to determine the path taken by data packets as they moved from source to destination through a network. The trouble was there were too few of these data points to generate a complete picture--a task comparable to a handful of people walking around and trying to map out the entire world.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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