About the Author
Maarten van Steen is full professor at the Computer Science department of VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He mainly teaches in the field of distributed systems, computer networks, and operating systems. Together with Andrew Tanenbaum he has co-authored a well-known textbook on distributed systems. Confronted with the difficulties that undergraduates in computer science have with mathematics, he set out to design a course on graph theory and complex networks that for most students would be less intimidating and much more fun than regular mathematics courses. His research concentrates on extreme distributed computer systems: very large systems consisting of thousands to hundreds of thousands of computers, be they connected through wired or wireless networks. Graph theory and complexity are topics that coincide naturally with his research. Maarten van Steen considers himself an experimental computer scientist, meaning that ideas and designs are validated by real-world experiments and systems prototyping. This approach has widely shaped his attitude toward theoretical work, which he believes obtains true value if it can be tied to real-world systems.