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Technology - Artificial intelligence

Network technology

Introduction to networks

There are all kinds of networks, many of which are unseen. These networks have been an integral part of civilization because they organize a particular aspect of society so that the whole can function.

Older networks, such as irrigation, plumbing and sewage systems go back to our earliest cities. In many cases a civilization thrived only because it had a properly functioning irrigation and sewage system which provided food and hygiene.

Today, we think of networks mostly as computer related, such as the internet. But data networks, a system of communication, are just as old as irrigation systems. For a ruler it was extremely important that he was aware of all the parts of his land and, in order to keep information flowing, a system of posts was usually set up.

Often in combination with military posts - a military network - it consisted of towns, villages and forts from the capital city to all the outlying regions. Fresh horses, carriages or chariots were always on hand to allow a messenger unlimited speed in delivering his message.

Before, as now, fast and accurate communication was essential.

City networks

Any modern city will have all of the following networks to make sure the city is healthy and functioning properly:

- a water network, to provide homes and businesses with fresh palatable water;

- a sewage and waste network, where waste water and sewage is collected to be processed (or dumped);

- various transport networks (car, bus, train, tram, subway, etc.), to keep people and goods flowing as smoothly as possible in, through and out of the city;

- communication networks such as telephone, internet and radio;

- energy networks for electricity and gas.

Network definitions

Main Entry: 1net·work
Pronunciation: 'net-"w&rk
Function: noun
1 : a fabric or structure of cords or wires that cross at regular intervals and are knotted or secured at the crossings
2 : a system of lines or channels resembling a network
3 a : an interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system <a network of hotels> b : a system of computers, terminals, and databases connected by communications lines
4 a : a group of radio or television stations linked by wire or radio relay b : a radio or television company that produces programs for broadcast over such a network
Source: Merriam-Webster.

It will also have social control or social assistance and emergency networks such as police, fire and hospitals;

These city networks are repeated on a national scale with the addition of armed forces networks such as marine, land and air forces, many using satellite networks to communicate effectively.

And again, on a global scale these networks are repeated with air, train and shipping networks. Connecting a connected world takes a lot of connections... networks.



Networks examples

Town of Franklin, Massachussetts sewer and water networks system maps.
(c) Franklin, MA.

Scottish Executive - an overview of the Overground Transport map network of Glasgow, Scotland.


The Story of Sewerage In Leeds - Or why the citizens of the city of Leeds, England only had a lifespan of, on average, 44 years for the gentry, and only 19 years for workmen, in 1841 before a citywide sewage network was installed.

Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau - a map of the overall freeway / expressway network traffic management plan of Taiwan.

Baltic Data - Maps of the transportation, energy and communications network in the Baltic Sea Region of Europe, connecting the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea.

Europe at night showing extensive electricity networks. (c) NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Scientific Visualization Studio

Soulincode - Quick overview of electrical, data and ISP networks in North America.


Organic networks

The idea of networking isn't new. Nature has beaten us to it by millions of years. Organisms of all kinds, including our own body are fully networked for functionality.

The nervous system, our neural network, the lymphatic system and the network of blood vessels are the organic highways within us to provide with communication, energy and food. Without them, we would not exist.

And not only organisms have essential network, planets do too. Earth has a network of volcanoes, for example, that ensure the pressure of the Earth's core can vent itself when stresses become too great.


The human nervous system

The human nervous system. Dorling Kindersley.
The human nervous system.
(c) Dorling Kindersley.



Data communication networks

Data networks specialize in transporting information bits of all sorts. Broken up in data packets this information can contain computer, audio and video data.


For business, government, military and personal use data communication networks provide the connectivity needed in a fast changing modern world. They span the globe using copper and fiber optic cables and an ever-growing satellite network.

Data networks examples

Germany's GASLine - map showing their fiber optic cable network in Germany.

A global satellite network covers the entire Earth with low orbit and geostationary satellites at a distance of 22,238 miles, making sure no point of the globe is out of reach. (c) MIT.

APEC 2005, Pusan, South Korea. Ahra is one of the world's first "network-based humanoids," meaning it sends data captured by cameras and a microphone built into its frame to a distant computer. Servers process the data and send back behavior commands. The machine is a top attraction at a technology exhibition at the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Organized by the government, the show highlights South Korea's ambition to become a global supplier of cutting-edge technology.
The exhibition featured four corporate pavilions by Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc., KT Corp. and SK Telecom Co.
(c) Austin American Statesman.



Non-physical networks

But networks go beyond the physical world. Professional and social networks abound in various forms.

We all have networks in our lives, personal and professional networks of people and places.

Professional networks may connect us to colleagues near and far so that we can do our jobs better or may even be integral to our work.


Personal networks, such as family and friends or social groups we associate with or are a part of also connect a group of people that are important to us.

Like the network roots of trees that sustain the tree so are our personal networks that which sustains us emotionally and professionally.


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