The Web is a big bow tie - research

This discovery will lead to new technologies and design advances that will speed and simplify e-business

The Web is shaped uncannily like a big bow tie, according to new research by scientists at IBM, Compaq and AltaVista.

It is hoped the research, which defines how traffic travels around the Web, will lead to improved methods of searching the Net, as well as better e-commerce strategies.

The Web is divided into four distinct regions say the scientists: disconnected pages, the origination, the termination and the core. Together these form a whole that looks almost exactly like a giant bow tie.

Each part of the tie represents a different type of Web page that are linked in different ways to the central, "strongly connected" core.

Previous studies likened the Web to a collection of smaller Webs all connected, but these researchers believe that their bow tie analogy helps explain the variety of ways in which people surf.

"Developing the 'Bow Tie' Theory explained the dynamic behaviour of the Web, and yielded insights into the complex organisation of the Web," say the scientists in a statement.

"These discoveries will help computer scientists better understand the structure of the Internet, and lead to new technologies and design advances that will speed and simplify e-business."

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