Network coding is a technique to increase the amount of information flow in a network by making the key observation that information flow is fundamentally different from commodity flow. Whereas, under traditional methods of operation of data networks, intermediate nodes are restricted to simply forwarding their incoming message symbols downstream, network coding achieves vast performance gains by permitting intermediate nodes to carry out algebraic operations on the incoming data. In this article we present a tutorial introduction to network coding as well as an application to the efficient operation of distributed data-storage networks.
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