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Weekly News Digest

October 15, 2007 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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University of Southern California Completes Internet Census

After nearly 3 billion pings in 62 days, researchers at the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute (ISI) completed and plotted a census of the 2.8 billion allocated addresses on the Internet ( As one of the birthplaces of the Internet, ISI took charge of the effort that is reportedly the first of its kind in more than 2 decades.

Thanks go to ISI project leader John Heidemann, who also has an appointment in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering computer science department. A probe, or ping, was sent to "every single assigned address in the entire Internet" from three machines, according to Heidemann. Yuri Pradkin, Heidemann’s ISI collaborator, carried out the mission of sending pings to nearly 3 billion addresses.

According to the results, 61 percent of the pings received no response; others received a "do not disturb" or "no information available" response that was most likely due to firewalls blocking the pings. However, millions of sites did respond, and the ISI team started to design a numerical "Internet atlas" that represents a novel census view of the visible Internet.

Heidemann said that the only other Internet census that he knew about was done in 1982 when the Internet featured 315 allocated addresses.

The census results will be used in a variety of ways, according to Heidemann, to provide data needed to proceed with a new protocol (IPv6) to help deal with the dwindling number of Internet addresses, to address Internet security issues, and to appeal to a collective sense of discovery (much like charting "the far side of the moon," according to Heidemann).

The Ant project, which is a research group, led the census that spanned the USC/ISI, the USC and Colorado State University Computer Science departments, the USC Electrical Engineering department, and USC’s Information Technology Services. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation also supported the research.

Source: University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute

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