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Beating the Crunch

The Internet Protocol, the basic building block of our online world, needs an overhaul

5 min read

As the Internet rapidly becomes the way to communicate, cyberspace is getting crowded. Millions of computers and networks effortlessly exchange vast amounts of information using the Internet Protocol. Yet IP has a shortcoming. Each networked device needs to have a unique number to distinguish it from every other device on the Internet. Otherwise, your e-mail, Web pages, instant messages, and the like might be delivered to someone else’s computer on the other side of the world. Unfortunately, the Internet is running out of these numbers.

Each unique number is known as an IP address, and in the IP scheme that runs today’s Internet—known as IPv4, for Internet Protocol version 4—each address is stored in 4 bytes and is a 32â''bit binary number. This means there are 232, or just over 4 billion, unique numbers available. Unfortunately, there are already more than 6 billion people on Earth, and although not everyone has an Internet-connected computer, the rest of us are making up for them with our servers, personal computers, PDAs, mobile phones, and so on. And even in poorer regions of the world, Internet use is exploding. Last summer, China, with a quarter of the world’s population, surpassed the United States as the country with the most Internet users. The day will come when the world simply runs out of IPv4 addresses.

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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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