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Oblivious network routing : algorithms and applications
Iyengar S., Boroojeni K., The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2015. 176 pp.  Type: Book (978-0-262029-15-5)
Date Reviewed: Mar 21 2016

This short book is the outcome of many years of research on oblivious network routing. The project was partially funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. The book shows mathematical tools and models, as well as their application, to describe currently important aspects of networks. The authors found a way to show routing basics and to include their own research in one book.

Routing problems are not trivial. There are two main approaches to present them. One is from the side of network protocols, which is enhanced by simulations evaluating performance. The other, presented here, requires mathematical background and focuses on models that simplify reality. This approach is not easy, yet the authors managed to deliver superbly. Experience allowed them to present a complicated topic in a comprehensible way, which is the most valuable asset of the book.

This short book comprises five chapters. The first chapter introduces the reader to issues related to network design. Mathematical symbols, nomenclature, and definitions are presented here. Also, the term “oblivious routing” is defined.

Chapters 2 and 3 constitute the mathematical foundation part of the book. The former describes hierarchical routing tools and data structures, thereby presenting instruments to describe routing in general. The latter is focused directly at oblivious routing and shows particular problem specification and routing schemes.

The last two chapters, 4 and 5, present two uses of the models previously introduced. The first is for congestion-free content-centric networks and the second shows a new approach for the distribution of green energy on a smart electric grid. Both applications are currently important topics, which makes the book even more interesting.

Both authors have academic backgrounds and the book is targeted to academics. Its value for engineers is limited, as it does not explain how routing works. Instead, it shows how routing can be modeled and evaluated. Therefore, the book perfectly suits PhD students who want to learn routing and use the models for research. It is also useful for academics who need or want to change a field of expertise.

The previously mentioned quality of presenting a difficult topic in a way that is easy to understand needs to be underlined. The language is clear and accurate. There are numerous examples that further facilitate the reception. The authors present analogies between routing and other areas, for example, vehicular transport. Each chapter ends with exercises and suggested further reading. Exercises are great for readers to check whether they fully understand a covered topic; however, no answers are presented. This is probably the most significant drawback.

Overall, I would recommend this book to graduate students on a PhD track who want to enter the world of network routing or extend their knowledge and skills.

Reviewer:  Robert Wojcik Review #: CR144245 (1607-0451)
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