Topic: Distributed Computation

O'Reilly Network articles about this topic:

A Free Software Agenda for Peer-to-Peer (
In a keynote speech at the Free and Open Source Software Developer's Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Andy Oram explains how the open source model can make Internet-connected computers function better.

Scrambling the Equations: Potential Trends in Networking (Web Services DevCenter)
New, networked file systems, scripting languages for devices, extensions to the seven-layer ISO networking model, and a new class of criminal offenses are all possible trends of the next few years.

Use P2P, Go to Jail. Any Questions? (
David McOwen installed the Distributed.Net client at the college where he worked. Now he's being prosecuted for "computer trespass" and could face up to 15 years in prison.

Porivo: Load Testing with P2P (
Porivo takes a SETI@Home approach to a very specific problem -- simulating Web server performance for users in different locations connected at varying speeds.

Popular Power Turns Off the Lights (
Distributing computing pioneer Popular Power closed up shop today, adding 14 employees to the ranks of the Internet unemployed. The San Francisco company, founded by Marc Hedlund and Nelson Minar, had a number of Fortune 500 customers for their software -- which exploited the unused processing power of PCs on a network -- but were unable to close the venture capital needed to continue.

Saving Lives with P2P (
P2P isn't just about stealing music or business collaboration. Distributed computing projects are harnessing P2P to crunch the data that makes a difference.

David Anderson: Inside SETI@Home (
In his address to the O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference, SETI@Home developer David Anderson, now with United Devices, offered an inside perspective on creating distributed computing services.

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Come Together, Right Now, Over P2P
By Damien Cave. "Cash and community, profits and dreams of a more perfect electronic union: Welcome to the peer-to-peer (P2P) scene, circa late 2000. Sure, the essential tenet of peer-to-peer -- the idea that computers can work together as both servers and clients -- started kicking around 20 or 30 years ago. And yes, "P2P" only attained buzzword status because Napster convinced millions to download its software and trade music with each other. But the developers following in those file-swappers' footsteps also see themselves as pioneers. They want to mine P2P for more than just gold or their MP3s. They are also aiming for a better world." [Source:]

Internet Computing and the Emerging Grid
Internet computing and Grid technologies promise to change the way we tackle complex problems. They will enable large-scale aggregation and sharing of computational, data and other resources across institutional boundaries. And harnessing these new technologies effectively will transform scientific disciplines ranging from high-energy physics to the life sciences. [Source: Nature]

You Got the Power: Next comes the payoff
By Howard Rheingold. "A wave of startups is poised to harvest the network's most wasted resource: your idle CPU cycles." This article explains the basic premise behind Distributed Computation and provides a few real world examples of the phenomena in action. [Source: Wired News]

Peer-to-Peer Networking Terminology
This white paper provides definitions for many of the basic terms surrounding peer-to-peer networks and distributed file-sharing systems, including: Agents, Hosts, Network Basics, Edge Attributes, Nodes in Relationships, Node Attributes, Paths, Graph Theory, and General Classes of Topologies. [Source: Albert Vierling, Chuck Wegrzyn, Lucas Gonze, and Ben Houston]

Collective Wisdom
By Brian Hayes. This article was originally published in the March-April/1998 Issue of "American Scientist". "The rise of cooperative-computing projects on the Internet is both a technical and a social phenomenon. On the technical side, the key requirement is to slice a problem into thousands of tiny pieces that can be solved independently, and then to reassemble the answers. The social or logistical challenge is to find all those widely dispersed computers and persuade their owners to make them available." [Source: American Scientist]

Peer-To-Peer's Dark Side: Vendors May Demand A Piece Of Your CPU
By Fred Langa. "This column isn't about P2P per se, nor its many benefits...this column is about a new kind of business model whereby a software vendor takes over its customers' CPUs in an aggressive and stealthy manner, and sells the aggregate computing power to third parties. The concept is so lucrative that if it succeeds in this first case, it surely will spread to other software vendors." [Source:]

The Emergence of Distributed Content Management and Peer-to-Peer Content Networks
This white paper from the Gartner Group provides a detailed explanation of Distributed Content Management systems and P2P Computing Technologies and then goes on to provide a comprehensive analysis of how the two technologies can work together. Highlights include: The Five Models of P2P, P2P Models that Apply to Content Networks, and P2P Content Networks - Opportunities and Challenges.

"Enterprises that need to give users access to distributed, business-critical content without attempting to centralize the data should consider distributed content management solutions and, in particular, P2P content networks. Enterprises that are highly dependent on sharing real-time information across geographically spread knowledge workers are likely to benefit immediately from P2P content network solutions." [Source: Gartner Group]

Uncheatable Distributed Computations
By Philippe Golle and Ilya Mironov. "Computationally expensive tasks that can be parallelized are most efficiently completed by distributing the computation among a large number of processors. The growth of the Internet has made it possible to invite the participation of just about any computer in such distributed computations. This introduces the potential for cheating by untrusted participants. In a commercial setting where participants get paid for their contribution, there is incentive for dishonest participants to claim credit for work they have not done. In this paper, we propose security schemes that defend against this threat with very little overhead. Our weaker scheme discourages cheating by ensuring that it does not pay off, while our stronger schemes let participants prove that they have done (almost) all the work they were assigned with high probability." [Source: Stanford University's Applied Crypto Group]