August 12, 2007
The Thermodynamics of the Internet
Over at Wired’s great Danger Room defense-tech blog, there’s a post up about DARPA’s new programs to monitor internet traffic even as the volume of that traffic keeps increasing exponentially:
But the Navy has been pioneering an approach, called “Therminator,” which might be able to do the job a little better. It’s one of a number of potential new net-defense tools that DARPA would like to see in action. The idea is to monitor the flow of traffic, rather than the individual packets. To treat it like to movement of temperature — thermodynamics — rather than the travels of ones and zeros. “If, all of a sudden, we see a big flow to China, we know there’s a problem,” Hearing says.
Yeah, I realize the whole “whoah, the net, it’s like, it’s like, a giant BRAIN” thing is a cliche by now, but even so, it’s wild to see this weird creation begin to exhibit more and more of these macro-properties that we associate with other physical or biological systems.