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Network Coding encourages information coding across a communication network. While the necessity, benefit and complexity of network coding are sensitive to the underlying graph structure of a network, existing theory on network coding often treats the network topology as a black box, focusing on algebraic or information theoretic aspects of the problem. This work aims at an in-depth examination of the relation between algebraic coding and network topologies. The authors mathematically establish a series of results along the direction of: if network coding is necessary/beneficial, or if a particular finite field is required for coding, then the network must have a corresponding hidden structure embedded in its underlying topology, and such embedding is computationally efficient to verify.
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