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We have been writing books about Internet technology since 1995, starting with Computer Networks: A Systems Approach. We are now developing an expanding series of open source books on topics in computer networking and related tech such as software-defined networks and 5G. This newsletter is the place where we share 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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Systems Approach has a mission to bring high-quality technical content to the broadest audience possible. For this reason, we make all our books freely available on the web and GitHub. If you would like to support our work, you can do so here by upgrading to a paid subscription. Alternatively, you can purchase our print and eBooks here.

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Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie, authors of "Computer Networks: A Systems Approach" explain the Internet – its technology, architecture, and evolution


Author, Computer Scientist, Co-Founder of Systems Approach, LLC.
Professor, Author, Open Source Evangelist