Pan-European project maps the Internet of the future

December 6, 2004

Brussels, 02 Dec 2004

The Internet will be a very different creature in 2025. For a start, it will have grown. Between 2000 and 2004, Internet usage grew by 124 per cent in Europe alone, and 125.2 per cent worldwide. As it develops, the Internet must also automate processes that are currently performed manually.

With Internet growth and activities increasing daily, there will come a time when problems arise unless this increasing complexity is planned for. This is the premise for the EVERGROW project, funded under the information society technologies (IST) section of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The Integrated Project, which involves 28 partners, aims to further understanding of the problems and processes that are expected to accompany the growth of the Internet so that they can be managed according to scientific principles. 'We want to devise and plan a better service,' according to project coordinator Professor Scott Kirkpatrick from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The project is divided into five sub-projects: on measurement and modelling; virtual network observatory; self-healing systems; message passing; and market mechanisms. It is from the project carrying out measurement work that the first results are expected. 'If you want to extrapolate the Internet, you first have to measure it,' explained Professor Kirkpatrick.

There have been previous attempts to measure and map the Internet, but this is the most systematic and ambitious effort so far, according to Professor Kirkpatrick. Most Internet maps resemble a tree, he explained, whereas the EVERGROW project is measuring from leaf to leaf within that tree in order to provide information on topology and traffic patterns at a previously unobtainable resolution in terms of time and space. Much previous work on Internet topology has relied on a few static snapshots, which are both out of date and US-centric, according to the project team. The consortium is already spotting connections that were unknown before. 'We are well beyond the point of seeing a tree,' Professor Kirkpatrick told CORDIS News.

Researchers involved in the sub-project DIMES are inviting Internet users everywhere to assist in the mapping of the Internet by downloading software (reference below) that will measure network patterns and send the corresponding data back to the consortium. The results of this work could lead to the provision of real time information, for example, on which countries are particularly difficult to contact at a certain moment. 'To do this, we need to put measurers everywhere,' said Professor Kirkpatrick, emphasising the need for Europe's Internet users to get involved. Joining DIMES is simple - the Windows client can be downloaded from http:///www.netdimes.org.


The consortium will first investigate how the tens of thousands of Autonomous Systems (typically, a single administrative domain) work. 'We want to learn more about what's inside them. Once we can characterise what we see, we can measure how things are growing,' said Professor Kirkpatrick.


One area of high growth is downloading music. One of the project's objectives is to devise a plan for a better service for sharing files or using chat rooms. EVERGROW is not confined to these parameters, however. 'The future is not just music, it's video streaming and being able to work continuously with others in an 'always on' fashion. We are also moving towards studying mobile computing as well,' explained Professor Kirkpatrick.


The outcomes of the project will be both inventions and knowledge, which together can be used to build a model of the future Internet. 'We may start a company or two, but that's not our aim or how we want to be judged,' said Professor Kirkpatrick. The results will be accessible to everyone through a virtual observatory.
For further information on EVERGROW, please visit:
http:///www.evergrow.org


For further information on DIMES, please visit:
http:///www.netdimes.org

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
Item source: http:///dbs.cordis.lu/cgi-bin/srchidadb?C ALLER=NHP_EN_NEWS&ACTION=D&SESSION=&RCN= EN_RCN_ID:23012

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