The analogies of highway and computer network traffic

Simon Gábor, István Csabai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we compare the characteristics of highway and computer network traffic in a simple topology. The goal is to extract some common features and to find out to which degree these systems can be regarded as analogous so that powerful tools developed for the description of highway traffic, such as cellular automata models could be applied for the case of information packet flows as well. We present phase diagrams of computer network traffic that show similar qualitative features as the one car and aggregated traffic fundamental diagrams of highway traffic and make the first step towards developing cellular automata describing data flow in communication networks. One of the great advantages of such models over detailed microscopic network simulations would be their simplicity which could admit the performance tests and modeling even of huge sized networks in a reasonable time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-526
Number of pages11
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2002


  • Cellular automata
  • Complex systems
  • Internet
  • TCP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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