ity to simply print electronic circuits rather than go through the stressful and complex process used to make chips. The goal is to fabricate transistors, resistors, and capacitors as thin-film semiconductor devices. Ways to do this at low cost and in large volume using standard printing processes or inkjet printers are in development. Working with funds from the Advanced Technology Program, for example, Motorola has teamed with Dow Chemical and Xerox in a 4-year effort to develop novel organic materials and techniques for printing electronic devices.

The Internet

Rarely, if ever, has a technology changed society as rapidly and unexpectedly as the Internet and the World Wide Web did in the 1990s. The coming decade will also see rapid changes in the way the world communicates and transmits data.

The Internet was both revolutionary and evolutionary, a dual process that continues with the next-generation Internet, or Internet II. Initiated at a conference in October 1995, Internet II involves a collaboration of more than 180 universities and a multitude of federal agencies and private companies to develop an advanced communications infrastructure. The major goals are to create a cutting-edge network for the research and education communities, enable new Internet applications, and ensure that new services and applications get transferred to Internet users at large. Designers envision high-speed, low-loss, broadband networks capable of allowing such bit-dense activities as real-time research collaborations and telemedicine consultations of unsurpassed clarity. Internet II encompasses several major new Internet protocols, and, as the original Net did, it will introduce new phrases to the language, such as GigaPOP—the term used for its interconnection points between users and the providers of various services. Among the many innovations needed to enable Internet II are new network architectures, advanced packet data switch/routers, multiplexers, and security and authentication systems.

Internet Vulnerability

The growth of the Internet has stimulated the study of communications networks to understand their general properties and the physical laws that govern their behavior. Physicists at the University of Notre Dame did a computer simulation of two possible network configurations. In one, each node had about the same number of connections to other nodes in the network. In the second configuration, nodes had greatly varying numbers of connections but nodes with many connections predominated. The second configuration represented the type of connections found on the Internet. On the basis of their findings, the researchers concluded that Internet-like systems are largely invulnerable to random failure but very open to damage by deliberate attack. A better understanding of the



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement