- Hardcover: 503 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (September 10, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1107024943
- ISBN-13: 978-1107024946
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,134,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #154 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Telecommunications & Sensors > Signal Processing
- #2146 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Electrical & Electronics > Electronics
- #3213 in Books > Computers & Technology > Networking & Cloud Computing > Internet, Groupware, & Telecommunications
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Networked Life: 20 Questions and Answers 1st Edition
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'How do the networks, which we increasingly rely upon in our everyday life, actually work? This book is an inspiring romp through the big ideas in networking, which is immediately rewarding and will motivate later courses.' - Frank Kelly, Professor of the Mathematics of Systems, Master of Christ's College, University of Cambridge, UK
"We are entering a new Internet era -- the era of the likes of Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook with entirely new types of problems. This book captures the new era, taking a fresh approach to both topic coverage and pedagogic style. Often at the end a section it leaves the reader asking questions; then exactly those questions are answered in the subsequent section. Every university should offer a course based on this book. It could be taught out of both ECE or CS departments at the undergraduate or graduate levels." - Keith Ross, Leonard J. Shustek Chair Professor in Computer Science, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, US, Co-author of "Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach"
"Mung Chiang's Networked Life has an intriguing premise and an ambitious vision...Chiang's framing of the material as 20 intriguing questions about networks, their architectures, and associated phenomena ties theory to practical systems that students encounter every day...Chiang's course surely pushes the boundaries of the traditional lecture, and the book similarly is meant to be a next-generation work." - Lynn Andrea Stein, Science
"Chiang takes a fresh new look at the networking discipline and addresses many of the issues that have arisen during the spread of networks such as the web and Facebook. Half of the book treats the network as a graph and explores many of its features in a graph-theoretic way. The author does not intend to replace traditional networking books, but wants to enhance them in a way that encompasses the new discipline of network science...Chiang manages to avoid information overload by using examples from well-known real-world services and technologies, making it easy to relate theory to practice. The book could be used in advanced undergraduate courses or in a post-graduate course on networking...I particularly liked the exercises in each chapter, and the fact that the book only references a handful of the most significant bibliographic entries at the end of each chapter...Overall, the book is unique in that it masterfully combines the networking and network science disciplines in a single volume." - Dimitrios Katsaros, Computing Reviews, June 2013
"...an engaging undergraduate textbook that explains the foundations of many of the networks that now are part of our daily routine...The author organizes the material in the Socratic style, using practical questions instead of the more common (dry) survey of concepts and techniques. It provides just enough information to whet the reader's appetite and spur interest in networks..." - Fernando Berzal, Computing Reviews, July 2013
Driven by real-world questions about our networked lives and packed with examples and exercises, this book explores the technology behind the multi-trillion dollar Internet and wireless industries. Essential reading for students in engineering, science and economics, for network professionals and anyone curious about how the Internet really works.
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Top customer reviews
I came to know about the book through Coursera, where Mung Chiang's course Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes caught my eye. I was especially intrigued by the question: How does Google rank webpages? Like so many others I was worried that Google's dominant position on the Internet, could one day lead to thought control and censorship of everything that was not in their interest. After reading Networked Life this fear has been put to rest.
I got a lot more than I bargained for. Networked life is not just about Google. It's about every major player on the internet, how they have evolved with a strong emphasis on how they did it. Each chapter or question is constructed using the same easy to follow template: The question is asked, the relevancy is explored, the answer is provided in short form, then in greater detail showing what really is done and how you could do the same.
Despite the complexity of the subject, Networked Life is an astonishingly easy and well written read. Even when Mung dives head first into complicated mathematical modeling to explain what is going on, his line of thought is easy to understand.
An equally good read for the casual reader that would like to understand the world we live in a little better and for the advanced reader that would like to understand exactly how big networks do it.
Networked Life will deepen your knowledge about the many successful networks of this world and maybe help you invent the next Google.
This book explores the social, economic, and technological networks that we see in our everyday lives. Each chapter poses a question that you've probably asked at one time or another: How does Google rank webpages? Why does Verizon charge me $10/GB? And How does traffic get through the Internet?, just to give you a flavor.
What's unique about this book is how each chapter is presented. Let me explain.
Each chapter starts with a "short answer" section, which serves to motivate the question. Professor Chiang gives an overall picture of the topic at hand. Information included in these sections ranges from interesting statistics about how networks have grown, to a conceptual understanding of some of the theory behind the question. He includes a lot of analogies, too. Perhaps my favorite is when he discusses a cocktail party in the first chapter to explain the differences between three communication technologies. Regardless of your background, you could probably read these short answer sections and understand a good portion of them. The only prerequisite here is a desire to learn.
Then, each chapter has a "long answer" section, which goes into more detail about how to "answer" the question. These sections tend to include more applied mathematics, and give the reader a strong understanding of how theory is used in practice. The topics here range from an explanation of the fundamental routing protocols that hold the Internet together, to the mathematics behind Google's PageRank algorithm.
So the "long answer" sections include math. For all you math-a-phobics: It's a networking course, after all! But no need to worry - The theory is not presented in a traditional way. Professor Chiang discusses in the roadmap section three pedagogical principles he employed when writing the book (as well as teaching the Princeton course): Just in Time, Bridge Theory and Practice, and Book as a Network. All three permeate throughout the text and are quite effective teaching styles. The idea of "Just in Time" is that strict mathematics and theory should not be introduced until it is motivated by some practical application. This is opposed to traditional textbooks, which can roughly be divided into two "halves": The first on theory, and the second on the applications. Even as engineers, it becomes quite tedious reading through heavy mathematics before understanding how it can be applied to the real world. The idea of "chopping up the meat and spreading it over the salad", rather than serving the two in separate plates - in Professor Chiang's own words - is viewed by my colleagues and I as a more effective and enlightening pedagogical style.
Finally, each chapter also includes an "advanced material" section. These are more advanced topics, some explained as concepts, some more heavy on the math side. Material covered here ranges from more sophisticated routing protocols, to proving why the power control algorithms that our cell phones use will converge to some (necessary) steady-state equilibrium.
Overall, I am confident in saying the following. If you've taken linear algebra at some point (or don't mind sitting with some other source on it to pick it up as you go), then you will learn a great deal from this book. It doesn't matter whether you have prior exposure to networking or not. It's well and uniquely written, and I highly recommend it.