Scooped Again

Jonathan Ledlie, Jeffrey Shneidman, Margo Seltzer, John Huth


The Peer-to-Peer (p2p) and Grid infrastructure communities are tackling an overlapping set of problems. In addressing these problems, p2p solutions are usually motivated by elegance or research interest. Grid researchers, under pressure from thousands of scientists with real file sharing and computational needs, are pooling their solutions from a wide range of sources in an attempt to meet user demand. Driven by this need to solve large scientific problems quickly, the Grid is being constructed with the tools at hand: FTP or RPC for data transfer, centralization for scheduling and authentication, and an assumption of correct, obediant nodes. If history is any guide, the World Wide Web depicts viscerally that systems that address user needs can have enormous staying power and affect future research. The Grid infrastructure is a great customer waiting for future p2p products. By no means should we make them our only customers, but we should at least put them on the list. If p2p research does not at least address the Grid, it may eventually be sidelined by defacto distributed algorithms that are less elegant but were used to solve Grid problems. In essense, well have been scooped, again.
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