Date: 25 Jun 2002

Heuristically Optimized Trade-Offs: A New Paradigm for Power Laws in the Internet

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We propose a plausible explanation of the power law distributions of degrees observed in the graphs arising in the Internet topology [Faloutsos, Faloutsos, and Faloutsos, SIGCOMM 1999] based on a toy model of Internet growth in which two objectives are optimized simultaneously: “last mile” connection costs, and transmission delays measured in hops. We also point out a similar phenomenon, anticipated in [Carlson and Doyle, Physics Review E 1999], in the distribution of file sizes. Our results seem to suggest that power laws tend to arise as a result of complex, multi-objective optimization.