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Peer-to-Peer Computing

Peer-to-peer computing is an interesting networking paradigm as it offers a high degree of scalability by exploiting the resources of the participants and avoids single-points of failures. Due to these desirable properties, peer-to-peer computing plays a crucial role in many networking applications beyond file-sharing, and the underlying ideas are also discussed as a design principle for the future Internet. Our research is concerned with the question of whether peer-to-peer is mature enough to step outside its "comfort zone". We conduct measurements of state-of-the-art peer-to-peer networks such as Kad and investigate the robustness, e.g., to Sybil attacks or selfish behavior. For example, we implemented the proof-of-concept BitTorrent client "BitThief" which provides evidence that despite the tit-for-tat incentive mechanism, free-riding is possible in BitTorrent. We develop algorithms to improve the performance of peer-to-peer systems: we devise peer-to-peer networks which are robust to worst-case churn (see e.g., our IPTPS paper), which allow for efficient joins and leaves (see e.g., our SHELL system at ICALP), or which are robust to denial of service attacks (see e.g., our Chameleon system at SPAA). Some of these algorithms were successfully implemented in the online storage tool Wuala and the streaming tool Streamforge, two Swiss startups.

Selected Publications

eQuus: A Provably Robust and Locality-Aware Peer-to-Peer System
Citation key LSW-EPRLPS-05
Author Locher, Thomas and Schmid, Stefan and Wattenhofer, Roger
Title of Book 6th IEEE International Conference on Peer-to-Peer Computing (P2P)
Pages 3–11
Year 2006
ISBN 0-7695-2679-9
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/P2P.2006.17
Month September
Abstract Peer-to-peer systems (p2p) are highly dynamic in nature. They may consist of millions of peers joining only for a limited period of time, resulting in hundreds of join and leave events per second. In this paper we introduce eQuus, a novel distributed hash table (DHT) suitable for highly dynamic environments. eQuus guarantees that lookups are always fast–-in terms of both the delay and the total number of routing hops–-, although peers may join and leave the network at any time and concurrently.
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