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As we work on our expanding series of books on computer networking, the Internet, and related tech, we are sharing our thoughts on emerging topics, Internet history, and what’s coming next from our open-source writing efforts. Never miss an update – every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox.

Defining “Systems Approach”

The "Systems Approach" refers to the field of design and implementation of computer systems. The term is used commonly by computer science researchers and practitioners who study the issues that arise when building complex computing systems such as operating systems, networks, distributed applications, etc. The key to the systems approach is a "big picture" view - you need to look at how the components of a system interact with each other to achieve an overall result, rather than simply optimizing each component. In the networking context, that often means going beyond the traditional layered view to see how an issue is best tackled in a way that might touch several layers. The Systems Approach has a strong focus on real-world implementation, with the Internet being the obvious example of a widely-deployed, complex networking system.

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Explaining the Internet: its technology, architecture, and evolution


Bruce Davie

Author, Computer Scientist, Co-Founder of Systems Approach, LLC.

Larry Peterson

Professor, Author, Open Source Evangelist