Rise and Fall of the Peer-to-Peer Empire

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Executive Summary

The essence of the peer-to-peer design philosophy is to design protocols for end hosts, or "Peers," to work in collaboration to achieve a certain design objective, such as the sharing of a large file. From a theoretical perspective, it has been recognized that the peer-to-peer design paradigm resembles gossip protocols, and with appropriate algorithmic design, it maximizes the network flow rates in multicast sessions. Over the past ten years, research on peer-to-peer computing and systems, a unique and intriguing category of distributed systems, has received a tremendous amount of research attention from academia and industry alike. Peer-to-peer computing eventually culminated in a number of successful commercial systems, showing the viability of their design philosophy in the Internet.

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