Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Fractals Reemerge in the New Math of the Internet," by Gary Taubes.Science, 25 September 1998, pages 1947-1948.

The existing paradigm for modeling traffic in the telephone system assumes thatcall volume may fluctuate over small time scales, but over longer time scales,these fluctuations smooth out. This model works well for POTS, or "Plain OldTelephone Service", but not for internet traffic, which tends to be "bursty"over short and long time scales. Researchers have found that fractals providea better way of modeling usage patterns on the internet. This article reportson these developments, which were described in an article, "Where MathematicsMeets the Internet", which appeared in the September 1998 issue of the AMSnews journal, Notices.

--- Allyn Jackson