Internet Black Holes (the invisible /dev/null beast)

The University of Washington has some great ongoing research projects. This one made national news at MSNBC (article: here). The Internet’s backbone consists of many thousands of routers speaking the TCP/IP protocol. TCP/IP was designed at DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to allow network traffic to take multiple routes to a destination. This provides for communication if one or more of the routers fails – a likely scenario in the event of a nuclear war. Because destinations can be reached though multiple routes, each individual path may or may not link to its destination. If it doesn’t link, any traffic that uses that route gets lost, forever. Never before have these ‘bad routes’ been charted. The CS department developed a tool to search for and track these black holes and they affectionately called it UW Hubble.

Check it out: