prostoalex writes "Scientific American looks at a new approach to clearing networking jams, in research funded by the US military. Instead of using routers to route the packets from point A and point B, thus making some hop in the sequence critical for delivering the message, researchers are exploring a new approach called 'network coding.' (Here is the illustration cited in the article.)" Quoting: "[Four researchers] then at the University of Hong Kong published groundbreaking work that introduced a new approach to distributing information across shared networks. In... network coding, routers are replaced by coders, which transmit evidence about messages instead of sending the messages themselves. When receivers collect the evidence, they deduce the original information from the assembled clues. Although this method may sound counterintuitive, network coding, which is still under study, has the potential to dramatically speed up and improve the reliability of all manner of communications systems and may well spark the next revolution in the field. Investigators are, of course, also exploring additional avenues for improving efficiency; as far as we know, though, those other approaches generally extend existing methods.'"
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