Mapping a Medusa: The Internet spreads its tentacles | Science News

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Mapping a Medusa: The Internet spreads its tentacles

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8:26pm, June 20, 2007

After enlisting the help of thousands of volunteers to track how digital information weaves around the world, researchers can offer a new simile: The Internet is like a medusa jellyfish. It has a dense core surrounded by a highly connected body, from which tentacles dangle.

Because the Internet has grown haphazardly, its structure has been mysterious. It began when universities, government agencies, and a few companies linked their internal computer networks to share information. New groups have kept joining ever since, with no central authority organizing the process. An e-mail sent today may pass through as many as 30 subnetworks before reaching its destination.

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