Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, HP, Intel Corporation, Princeton University, the University of Washington and more than 60 universities from around the world have joined together to form PlanetLab, a global test bed for inventing and testing prototype Internet applications and services. The researchers aim to spark a new era of innovation by using "overlay" networks to upgrade and expand the Internet's features and capabilities.

PlanetLab may lead to new ways of protecting the Internet from viruses and worms. It could also enable new capabilities, such as persistent storage, the idea of giving the Internet a "memory." For example, 100 years from now a piece of data could still be found, even though the original computer on which it was posted no longer exists. In addition, this research could influence the future design of servers and network processors.

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