Photos Spare Cycles MythBusters

Talk: BitTorrent

Bram Cohen, the creator and maintainer of BitTorrent gave a talk to our lab today. The most interesting (and surprising) aspect of his talk, IMHO, was that he based BitTorrent on the Prisoner's Dilemma. Cohen's approach was to assume that each client would act greedily instead of cooperatively, and designed the system along those principles. Although there are some slight areas in which gaming the system is possible, overall Cohen's tit-for-tat system seems to do very well and enforcing good behavior. It's nice to see game theory applied in places other than economics and politics.

I'm suprised that more commercial companies aren't using BitTorrent, especially given how expensive it can be to maintain a large Internet pipe, though some have claimed that a commercial company could not ask it's customers to use a protocol that steals their upstream bandwidth (i.e. customer's expect the companies to foot the bandwidth bill, not them). I could still imagine companies being at least supportive of BitTorrent, however, by posting clearly marked "BitTorrent" links. I could have used it yesterday when I was trying to fetch Gollum's MTV acceptance speech off the Net.

Post a comment

related entries.

what is this?

This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on June 9, 2003 1:26 PM.

The previous post was 5k Suffering.

The next post is metamanda x 2.

Current entries can be found on the main page.