In the real world, how is a node mapped to the position on the ring, Each nodes's IP address is hashed using SHA-1 hashing algorithm which will produce this hash - hashed into 60CBFB98C9052A425D684A2C3D8D8D38424129A3. This should have been in the range of 0 to (2^m) - 1 where m is the number of bits. I have the following questions -

  1. How should I convert this hashed value into a number?
  2. Will the IP address after leaving and re-joining the ring get the same placeholder position?
  3. Are placeholders or node positions ordered numbers at all?

Take the last m bits of the hash. View it as a number in binary. That's how you convert the hashed value into a number. The position is a number. That should answer your questions 1 & 3.

Now that you know how it works, you should be able to answer question 2 yourself. If not, go back and read the original paper (especially Section IV.B), which should make this clear.

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