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Computer Science - Communication Networks | Networks for Pervasive Services (Authors and Editors)

Networks for Pervasive Services

Six Ways to Upgrade the Internet

Liotta, Antonio, Exarchakos, George

2011, XVIII, 162 p.

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Interview in De Volkskrant, June 11 2011

“Protocols have to be changed and we have to grow networks as if they were plants,” says Antonio Liotta, Professor Communication Networks at the Technical University of Eindhoven.

The Internet will soon break or bend. It will not collapse all of a sudden, as we have always been able to manage the growing data stream by enlarging the network’s capacity. However, it doesn’t take much to disrupt the Internet either, as we are still using protocols created 40 years ago which are not designed to accommodate data streams as big and complex as we have today. This means that 10 to 15 percent of all data is currently not transferred in one go, because of the routers, the network’s bottlenecks.
One simple solution to make the Internet more efficient would be to create ‘spontaneous’ networks using a cluster of computers, of which only one is physically connected to the Internet. That way adding or taking away computers would not affect the data stream. Liotta has performed tests with such a network.
According to Liotta we should learn from Mother Nature and make routers self-supported. “Look at our human body: the autonomous nervous system controls all kinds of bodily functions on its own and subconsciously, without any intervention.” Interestingly enough the Internet is already partly organized that way as well. Now we should take the last step and have the systems learn from past experience.
Liotta challenges engineers to buckle up: “We should help our computers learn what to do. The network can become the best self-taught machine we ever built.”

Internet needs to be smarter to handle explosive growth 

Cursor (magazine of TU Eindhoven), week 23:

Internet data traffic has grown by a factor of 15,000 in the last 15 years. But in all that time there has been no significant update of the internet itself; data packets are still transported in the same, hardly intelligent way, according to prof. Antonio Liotta. But that needs to change quickly, he says, because the growth of internet will be even greater in the near future because of trends like the emergence of HD video, ‘cloud computing’ and the ‘Internet of Things’. Liotta believes the solution lies in intelligent, learning networks, inspired partly by nature: ants, bees and the human brain.

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