Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Wednesday, May 23

The reason for the move

Why did I move all the way out here to Richland, WA? Well, I have a really sweet deal where someone pays my bills and I go to school. But my husband only makes so much and school is expensive, so I got a government fellowship. Now the government pays my bills and my husband gets to buy me cool gadgets and cute clothes instead of paying tuition. The difference between mooching off the government and mooching off my husband is the government only asks for a three month internship. My husband wants eternity.

The other difference is that the government is actually interested in what I do. And this summer that something is computer security. For anyone who cares, a computer network can be modeled as a graph. Here is an example:

Mine and Scott's computer are connected to our home router. This router talks to Jill's router, which her computer is connected to. So we have 5 vertices (3 computers, 2 routers) with 4 edges. Some of these connections cost more to communicate on. Like snail mail is a connection but costs more (time, money) than email. We assign those edges that cost more longer lengths. So this might be our graph:

(Nina) \
aaaaaa(Our Router)-----------(Jill's Router)--(Jill's Computer)
(Scott)/

We don't really need the labels, so we just consider this graph:

O \
aaaO--------O--O
O /

Now we "isometrically embed" this into a surface. All this means is we put the graph into a continuous surface while preserving the lengths of the edges. This particular graph can be embedded in a plane. You can see this because I drew it in a plane. So there it is. Nothing fancy. But not every graph can be put in a plane. Some go into very strange spaces. And the properties of those spaces relate to a network's vulnerability to certain kinds of attacks, such as worms and denial of service. And this summer I am investigating how this works.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Was I supposed to be able to understand that??

Just curious...