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The Power of Networks: Six Principles That Connect Our Lives Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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"Christopher Brinton and Mung Chiang offer an open and accessible pathway through the complexity of network design and deployment, and offer a readily understood, yet commendably deep, analysis of the technology and its operation. . . . A key strength of this study is its depth, for while the topics themselves are often apparently straightforward . . . the authors are admirably keen to drill down into the really important detail on which networks are founded, ensuring that we gain a real grasp of how the essential structures behave and operate. . . . In a world in which it is increasingly difficult to live without a profoundly intimate relationship with digital networks--whether you like it or not--the material presented in this text could usefully form a universal part of public education. . . . To describe this book as a course in digital citizenship would not be to overstate its importance."--John Gilbey, Times Higher Education
"The Power of Networks is a nice book that I believe many readers will enjoy, especially readers interested in modern technology, engineering and innovation. For readers that are more mathematically inclined, it also does a nice job of explaining important topics from mathematics, such random graphs and the Watts-Strogatz theory, and what these ideas have to do with networks. If you have any interest in network theory at all, I recommend this book."--Jason M. Graham, MAA Reviews
"Authoritative but accessible. . . . Pitched perfectly at the reader with a background in technology who’s interested in finding out more about the principles that underpin so much of daily life. . . . This isn’t a superficial book though, and the easily grasped comparisons lead on to an in-depth treatment, though without the maths of a full-blown text book."--Dominic Lenton, Engineering and Technology
"If your job demands it or if you’re simply interested in learning about how networks function under the hood, [The Power of Networks] is a great introduction."--Tibi Puiu, ZME Science
"Using simple language, analogies, stories, hundreds of illustrations, and no more math than simple addition and multiplication, Christopher Brinton and Mung Chiang provide a smart but accessible introduction to the handful of big ideas that drive the technical and social networks we use every day--from cellular phone networks and cloud computing to the Internet and social media platforms."--L'enseignement Mathematique
From the Back Cover
"The Power of Networks is a wonderfully accessible account of the networking concepts that shape our technology and our society. With remarkable clarity, Brinton and Chiang reveal how the theory of networks illuminates the many connected aspects of our lives."--John MacCormick, author of Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers
"Networks have played a powerful connective role in human societies since the dawn of agriculture. Brinton and Chiang document and analyze this phenomenon--and reinforce our appreciation of it."--Vint Cerf, Internet pioneer
"This insightful, readable book shows how the Internet of Things is being transformed, starting with connectivity. Whether you are a technology consumer or work in industry, this is the book for you."--Jeff G. Fedders, Chief Strategist, Intel Corporation, and President, OpenFog Consortium
"This book is a manual for citizenship in the twenty-first century, a world where networks help us find our place by sharing information about who we are, and about what we would like to do."--Robert Calderbank, Duke University
"As humans, we are ‘networked' by nature. Our bodies are networked from head to toe by the most sophisticated network that exists, and the value of networking was even understood by our ancestors as they began to network in order to hunt more efficiently. The Power of Networks explains how six basic networking principles connect our lives almost as an extension of our primordial instincts--but in more advanced ways than our ancestors could have imagined. It is an absolutely intriguing book."--Helder Antunes, Senior Director, Cisco's Corporate Strategic Innovations Group, and Chairman, OpenFog Consortium
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I would highly recommend this book to anyone!
Overall well written with a good balance of high level concepts and depth.
Authors Brinton and Chiang, begin with an overview of the cellular evolution and how it is a perfect example of how networks have struggled throughout the years to meet capacity demands of consumers. Then, they discuss how with WiFi, comes a different flavor of sharing than cellular: Rather than having stringent power control algorithms, WiFi relies on random access to manage interference among users in the same location. Also, the authors show you how so-called usage-based pricing schemes can send better feedback signals than flat-rate, "buffet" schemes leading to better sharing. They continue by answering two questions: How does Google rank webpages and make money from its advertising business. Then, the authors explore how Google ranks its standard webpage results to make searching as efficient and high quality as possible. Then, they explore the idea behind how products are ranked on Amazon. In addition, the authors turn to Netflix movie recommendations, where (rather than extracting one rating) they predict several ratings for each person. Next, they turn to situations where people learn from one another, with each bringing their own wisdom to the crowd. Then, the authors look at how YouTube viewing is a good example of dependences created by information spread.
Also, they continue with their theme of influence: This time paying more attention to the underlying graph of social networks. The authors then call for an efficient way of sharing the network resources, and a division of management responsibility (both geographically and functionality), so that the subparts can be tackled more easily. Then, they describe how different subnets of the Internet handle the important task of routing messages from one point to another in a scalable manner. Also, the authors show you how Internet devices use feedback provided from receivers to infer and manage congestion in the network. Finally, they continue by turning back to social networks, and look at how people can still be connected even at seemingly opposite ends of the network.
This excellent book describes the key ideas behind networking through storytelling, pictures, examples, and historical anecdotes. Many of the materials contained in this great book, have already been used to teach more than 100,000 students in a Massive Open Online Course.
As someone with an information technology networking background this book is exactly what I wish I had when I first entered the field. Designed for the non-technical reader, it accurately and simply explains the impact that networks of many different kinds have on our world. It was nice to be able to read something about what is usually a very technical topic and not have to commit to doing significant amounts of math in my head. For anyone with any interest in any sort of network, from physical and technical networks to personal networks, this book is a must-read.