Hubble Searches for Black Holes, Just not Steven Hawking’s

Hubble finds “black holes”

I can’t give you a picture of “Hubble” because this one’s a computer program. But I can give you one of the “black holes” it looks for, because these pertain to the dead spots you probably come across at times while trying to access another computer on the web, say, like TinySci.com.

Hubble in this case is the brainchild of folks at the University of Washington’s Computer Science and Engineering department. It’s been around for just over a year and a half, and has the unenviable job of scouring the Internet for dead spots, sections where the link between any two computers should be active, but for some reason, is not.

The above picture is one from 9:20 PM PST on April 9, 2008. Each marker is a “black hole” where Internet inactivity is mapped and displayed.

How’s this useful? It should help network operators spot areas requiring a fix, or plan for redundant connections for problematic sections. In other words, let’s hope that eventually Hubble puts itself out of a job.

Source: University of Washington 1, 2

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