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To Elucubrator: on Internet Architecture

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To Elucubrator: on Internet Architecture

Postby wissen » Tue May 13, 2003 7:21 pm

Hi, Sebastian,<br /><br />It was not until today that I see your reply, because my computer was occupied by a big computation task for several days. :P <br /><br />Let me try to give a rough explanation on Internet Architecture. To my understanding, researchers on "Internet Architecture" are trying to answer how the Internet should be organised.<br /><br />Today, millions of people are playing Internet, downloading music and video, having access to Web sites, chatting with others, but they don't need to care about how all of these work. <br /><br />Another part of people do care something. They are programmers, software and hardware designers. They implement the Internet, making it able to provide various services to all of us, with running programms installed in our computers and some other special computers that transfer information among us. Different computers and programms are designed and made by different engineers, but, obviously, we do not feel this difference when we are playing in the Internet. Why? This is because there is a set of common rules that the designers and programmers must follow. However, most of them do not need to think why the rules are as they were. They are only following them. They are trying to improve their works without breaking these common rules. <br /><br />To understand the role of rules, consider the case how Plato communicates with us. He would like to tell us some ideas and facts. The ideas and facts were the purpose of his communication. However, he had to represent the ideas and facts in some way otherwise we cannot get it. Plato then chose a language that we call as "attic greek" today and chose a letter sequence according to the grammar of this language to represent what he wanted to tell us. Finally, he wrote down these letters on some papyri instead of buring a CD 8). 2400 years later, we would like to get these information. Only if we follow the clue given by the rules that Plato used: ink plots on papyri instead of files on CD - letter sequence instead of voice - phrases in attic greek language instead of English - idea, we could find out what he would like to tell us. Indeed, the ideas, phrases, letters and ink plots, ordered from logical concept to physical existence, are of different profiles of the same object: what Plato would like to tell us. <br /><br />Rules for the Internet are similar to Plato's. They are categorized into several layers, from logical to physical. Wiring the computers only involves rules in the physical layer, just like Plato used ink to record letters on papyrus. The lowest layer rules are diverse because we have cables, optical fibers, radioelectronic waves to make the computers connected, and the highest layer rules are also diverse because we have WWW, FTP, email, ICQ and other applications. However, the middle layer rules are relatively unified, represent diverse ideas and deliver them with diverse media. Language is the most important in Plato's rules and the middle layer rules play the role of the "language" of the Internet.<br /><br />Third part of people, like me, join the job of finding proper rules (especially the "language" layer) for the Internet. The Internet is a historical result. Thousands of researchers contributed their efforts and ideas for the rules over the past 30 years. The Internet had a "blueprint" before it was built. American scientists set down the original blueprint, in 60's and 70's of the last century. The blueprint emphasized that the "language" layer should accommodate to diversity in both physical infrastructures and emerging applications. Rules are becoming more and more abundent but the basic principles are remained unchanged, as same as in the blueprint 30 years ago. <br /><br />However, what about tomorrow? Are these principles are still working well? The Internet was born with non-commercial and non-public purposes but today it is used commercially and publically. What if we re-build it over again? Finding a new blueprint, esp. the "language" rules, for tomorrow's Internet, this is the task of researchers of Internet architecture. <br /><br />Hope the explanation is not verbiage. :P<br /><br /><br />//<br />Calvino has many fans in China. :) I've read some chapters of chinese version of Invisible Cities on someone's personal website. <br /><br />//<br />There may be not many in China studying Latin and Ancient Greek. Languages of oriental nations and religions are much more studied, such as Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian and so forth. Even 1400 years ago, buddhism classics were translated from Sanskrit into Chinese. Sanskrit and Buddhism significantly influenced Chinese culture.<br /><br />//<br />Aha, about my name in chinese characters, I had forgot that picture is available. <br />Image <br /><br /><br />As to the small picture on my profile, my friend used digital camera to shoot his painting and then send me the e-version. Then I resized it to fit the room for the profile. <br />
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