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Incentives and Protocols for Self-Organizing Interest-Based Peer-to-Peer Networks

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Improving the information retrieval (IR) performance of peer-to-peer networks is an important and challenging problem. Recently, the computer science literature has attempted to address this problem by improving IR search algorithms. However, in peer-to-peer networks, IR performance is determined by both technology and user behavior, and very little attention has been paid in the literature to improving IR performance through incentives to change user behavior. We address this gap by combining the club goods economics literature and the IR literature to propose a next generation file sharing architecture. Using the popular Gnutella 0.6 architecture as context, we conceptualize a Gnutella ultrapeer and its local network of leaf nodes as a “club” (in economic terms). We specify an information retrieval-based utility model for a peer to determine which clubs to join, for a club to manage its membership, and for a club to determine to which other clubs they should connect. We simulate the performance of our model using a unique real-world dataset collected from the Gnutella 0.6 network. These simulations show that our club model accomplishes both performance goals. First, peers are self-organized into communities of interest — in our club model peers are 85% more likely to be able to obtain content from their local club than they are in the current Gnutella 0.6 architecture. Second, peers have increased incentives to share content — our model shows that peers who share can increase their recall performance by nearly five times over the performance offered to free-riders. We also show that the benefits provided by our club model outweigh the added protocol overhead imposed on the network for the most valuable peers.

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  • Michael D. Smith & Rahul Telang, 2004. "Incentives and Protocols for Self-Organizing Interest-Based Peer-to-Peer Networks," Working Papers 04-12, NET Institute, revised Oct 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0412
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    1. Sterbenz, Frederic P & Sandler, Todd, 1992. "Sharing among Clubs: A Club of Clubs Theory," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(1), pages 1-19, January.
    2. Sulin Ba & Jan Stallaert & Andrew B. Whinston, 2001. "Optimal Investment in Knowledge Within a Firm Using a Market Mechanism," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(9), pages 1203-1219, September.
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