Avoiding the Internet's Black Holes

A new way of mapping the Internet could make data routing more reliable

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The Internet links more than 67 000 computer systems, known as “autonomous networks,” that serve its 2 billion users. These numbers keep growing, stressing the routers that pass data around the Net. In fact, some scientists worry that parts of the Internet are already sinking into short-lived but mysterious “black holes”—places where data can’t get in or out. But there’s hope. New research offers the Internet’s traffic cops a form of hyperbolic mapping that stresses routers less and reduces the number of black holes. Host Steven Cherry talks with study coauthor Dmitri Krioukov at the University of California, San Diego, about the Escher-esque maps built by Krioukov and his colleagues Marián Boguñá and Fragkiskos Papadopoulos.