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IEEE article on overlay networks


Here's an article (PDF, 190KB) I wrote which will appear in the July/August issue of IEEE Internet Computing. (IEEE Copyright Notice: Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.)

As usual, comments welcome!

It's a short introduction to overlay networks and how they compare to "standard" flooding-type P2P networks (ie., Gnutella-type). Overlays are also discussed in the literature as distributed hash tables. (Because of the way they allow exact key/value pair mappings to be done over a network, and because they support basic hashtable operations: put/get/remove). It's written more for developers (or, if you will, for a general audience with technical proficiency) rather than researchers (not enough space to go in depth into the subject for that). It's quite something to write with limited space and for a subject like this one, that tends to be err... "mathematical". I end up feeling that not all the possibilities/ambiguities are explained, that sometimes in simplifying people will get the wrong idea, etc. This always happens, on any topic, on any magazine, or journal, or even when presenting for a conference (the typical 12 or 15 page limit sounds like a lot--it isn't). In the end the only way to scratch this particular "completeness" itch is to write a book.

It was an interesting experience, spanning several months: from initial draft, review, approval... a short period of quiet and then a flurry of activity in the last week or so, where we went from ugly zero-format Word document (using the Track Changes feature in word to collaborate with the editor) to nicely finished final layout-version, ready for inclusion in the magazine. The article's editor, Keri Schreiner was great to work with, and I learned a lot from the process. There are several "Editors" involved in the magazine of course, Lead Editor, Department Editor, and so on... when you think about it, it's fascinating, a process that might take say, six months in total (from idea to camera-ready copy), happening in parallel for a set of articles that will appear in a single magazine. It's a top down process mostly. It got me thinking about how it could be done in a less centralized way, which would improve feedback for all parties. I won't go into this in more detail now, though, I still have to post a follow up on the decentralized media discussion. :-)

Categories: soft.dev, technology
Posted by diego on June 24 2003 at 8:40 PM

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