Distributed Networks

Distributed Network

UCLA Masters of Engineering graduate (and Ph.D. drop out) Paul Baran designed and described the first distributed relay node architecture as a “survivable” communications system during the Cold War. This offered a solution to the American military reliance on hub to spoke high frequency radio connections, which were vulnerable to nuclear attack. Baran’s system allowed end points (spokes) to continue to communicate even if one end point of the network had been damaged in a nuclear attack. The Distributed Network routed communication around damage, where the hub and spoke system would have been rendered ineffective.

Paul Baran’s work was foundational to the internet’s development.

The principles of the distributed system and its value (first applied in the Cold War) are extensible. The Distributed Network is resilient to attack, continuing to perform even after a portion of nodes is incapacitated in an attack. This differs from centralized systems, which may be destroyed if a central node or hub is attacked.

The decentralized network is a blend of the centralized and Distributed Network. Like the centralized network, it can be destroyed by an attack of a small number of nodes [16]. As the relative size of central hub nodes changes (as defined by number of links to/from the hub), the number of nodes that must be attacked to destroy the network changes; it may increase or decrease. A decentralized network may be destroyed or rendered vulnerable by the attack of a single node if that single node links to a majority or large share of the decentralized network’s nodes.

The type of attack that destroys a decentralized or centralized network goes beyond nuclear attack to include network corruption, third party influence, taxation, co-option, and data siphoning – thus the importance of the Distributed Network.

Note for Bitcoin and blockchain-minded readers: Although the term decentralization is so commonly used at conferences and beyond, Satoshi’s white paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System [1]” does not use the term decentralization – not once. The blockchain mining network is designed and referenced by Satoshi as a Distributed Network.

Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Alyse first learned about business building and entrepreneurship from my grandfather; here stemmed her affinity for builders. Always rooting for underdogs and outsiders. Alyse Killeen is an Investment Team member at March Capital Partners in Santa Monica, CA. She is a mentor at Plug and Play Tech Center's Bitcoin and Fintech Accelerator, and an advisor to America Innovates, the The Vinetta Project, Factom, and Vahlte. Alyse has previously invested with Future\Perfect Ventures in NYC, and Clearstone Venture Partners in Santa Monica, and continues to support the active portfolio companies of both firms. Distributed ledger technologies, data application, fintech, connected devices (IoT), the sharing economy, and healthcare IT are areas of investment focus. Alyse has presented globally on the confluence of cryptographic currency and peer-to-peer marketplaces, and has authored a book chapter on the same subject. Prior to working in Venture Capital, Alyse conducted research in the field of biopsychology with a focus on cognition's impact on cardiovascular outcome and immunological function. She earned an MS degree in Health Psychology as a Maytag Fellow, publishing Master's Thesis: Chronic fatigue syndrome and natural killer cell function.

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