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IT data and networks

Christopher Brinton and Mung Chiang chart the underlying principles that guide the networks influencing our everyday lives.

Networks – whether a social network, a communication network or an economic network – are everywhere these days. From whom we are friends with on Facebook to how our messages get carried through the internet, they all have interesting stories underlying them. As different as recommending movies to watch, controlling device power levels and video clips going viral may seem, the inner workings of these and other functions are the six hidden principles of networks.

Sharing is hard

Whether we’re making calls on mobile phones or browsing the internet on wifi, we share the network media that we’re using with many others. How is it possible for us to do this without disrupting one another’s connections? It requires the network to have effective techniques for co-ordination and sharing among devices, from controlling the levels that our phones transmit information to pricing the data that we receive (see box, Pricing data smartly).

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 254, May 2017. 

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