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Poems That Solve PuzzlesThe History and Science of Algorithms$
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Chris Bleakley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198853732

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198853732.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 January 2021

The Internet

The Internet

(p.117) 7 The Internet
Poems That Solve Puzzles

Chris Bleakley

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 exposes the algorithms that are the foundations of the Internet. The Internet relies on “packet-switching” to transfer data between computers. Messages are broken into ‘‘packets’’ of data and these packets are routed across the network in a series of hops between linked computers. The advantage of packet-switching is that the network is easily extended and is robust to isolated computer failures. Data sent on the Internet is protected from errors by means of an algorithm invented by Richard Hamming. His algorithm adds information to packets, enabling receiving computers to detect and correct transmission errors. Communication on the Internet is secured by means of an algorithm published in 1977. The RSA algorithm relies on the properties of large prime numbers to prevent eavesdroppers from reading encrypted messages.

Keywords:   algorithm, Internet, ARPANET, packet-switching, error correction, public key cryptography, TCP/IP, Richard Hamming, Vint Cerf, Robert Kahn, RSA

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