What does the Internet look like? The network of networks got a “visual,” thanks to the study by researchers at the Bar Ilan University, Israel. The study maps the Net as an orb of intertwined nodes where each node represents a computer network or an ISP. The full study is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Structure of the Internet reveals a “dense core of 80 or so critical nodes surrounded by an outer shell of 5,000 sparsely connected, isolated nodes that are very much dependent upon this core. Separating the core from the outer shell are approximately 15,000 peer-connected and self-sufficient nodes” (read the full article at Technology Review).

An interesting point to note from the study is that 70% of the “outer-shell” nodes remain connected even if all the core critical nodes are removed, all owing to the power of peer-to-peer networks. The study was conducted over a period of two years, with help of about 5,000 volunteers.

Another innovation employed was assessing the importance of a node on the basis of how well it was connected to other better connected nodes. (Google’s PageRank anyone?)

Apart from contributing to better mapping of the Internet, for all folks out there who always wanted to “see” what the Internet was all about…. you have your pictures!