Flooding is a behavioristic psychological tool for reducing anxiety. As opposed to desensitization, where increasingly powerful versions of the anxiety-causing simulus are given to the patient, while teaching him to dissasociate the stimulii from anxiety, in flooding, the patient is flooded at once with the stimulus. Usually at maximum potency.

Thus, in the desensitization of arachnophobia (fear of spiders), the patient would be first subjected to thoughts about spiders, then to pictures of spiders, then to seeing spiders in a different room, then close up, and finally touching a spider. In flooding, the person would basically be given a few spiders to play with, and after a little while, he would see it's not too bad, and hey presto, the fear / anxiety is gone!

I am, of course, slightly simplifying things here. This is just the tip of the iceberg of these techniques, but those are the basics.

For more reading, I would suggest cognitive / behavioristic therapy guides, or maybe even just Introduction to Psychology books.

On the internet: a process by which you fill a medium with way too much information. examples: irc flooding (typing way too much in and causing annoyance to others), ping flooding (pushing packets as fast as possible at a target to cause them harm), etc.

Flooding is often associated with malicious Internet activies such as disabling servers and connections with overwhelming volumes of garbage communication. But the concept of network flooding is a lot more basic than that.

From a networking perspective, flooding is a naïve method of achieving network broadcasting (communication to all networked nodes). A simple local area network can be constructed using hubs which simply forward all incoming messages to all other connected ports. Using this scheme, the hub doesn't even need to know the addresses of the end nodes. The target address can be embedded in the packet, and all computers who are not addressed can simply discard it.

    Advantages of basic flooding
  • Hubs don't require memory.
  • Extremely fast.
  • No configuration necessary.
  • Simple algorithm leaves little room for bugs.
    Disadvantages of basic flooding
  • Can not handle loops in the topology.
  • No security policies can be implemented, all packets go everywhere.
  • Lots of bandwidth is wasted.

Loops can be handled by adding some kind of spanning tree algorithm to define a loop-free topology. Then the network can flood over this subset of the connections without worrying about infinite loops. Unfortunately this method introduces other problems, and actually reduces the bandwidth utilization since some links will no longer be used.

Given the general shortcomings of flooding, it's main niche is in local area networks. Nevertheless the concept has proven that simple often beats clever, and has made networking technologies such as Ethernet work with a minimum of fuss.

Flood"ing, n.

The filling or covering with water or other fluid; overflow; inundation; the filling anything to excess.

2. Med.

An abnormal or excessive discharge of blood from the uterus.



© Webster 1913.

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