Internet as Jellyfish

Sharing this excerpt and image from Martin Dodge's now defunct Mappa Mundi website, full of fascinating articles about technology, history, and the future of cyberspace.


What Does the Internet Look Like, Jellyfish Perhaps?

Exploring a visualization of the Internet by Young Hyun of CAIDA (by Martin Dodge)

The Internet is often likened to an organic entity and this analogy seems particularly appropriate in the light of some striking new visualizations of the complex mesh of Internet pathways. The images are results of a new graph visualization tool, code-named Walrus, being developed by researcher, Young Hyun, at the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA) [1]. Although Walrus is still in early days of development, I think these preliminary results are some of the most intriguing and evocative images of the Internet's structure that we have seen in last year or two.

A few years back I spent an enjoyable afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I particularly remember a stunning exhibit of jellyfish, which were illuminated with UV light to show their incredibly delicate organic structures, gently pulsing in tanks of inky black water. Jellyfish are some of the strangest, alien, and yet most beautiful, living creatures [2]. Having looked at the Walrus images I began to wonder, perhaps the backbone networks of the Internet look like jellyfish?  Read the rest

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