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Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks have recently become one of the hottest topics in OS research. Starting with the explosion of popularity of Napster, researchers have become interested because of the unparalleled chance to do relevant research (people might use it!), and the brain-dead approach of many of the first P2P protocols. The majority of most recent high-profile work has described middleware that performs a single task: distributed lookup. This seemingly simple function can be used as the basic building block of more complex systems that perform a variety of sophisticated functions (file systems, event notification system, etc.).
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