Conference paper

Generic emergent overlays in arbitrary peer identifier spaces

Unstructured overlay networks are driven by simple protocols that are easy to analyze and implement. The lack of structure, however, leads to weak message delivery guarantees and poor scaling. Structured overlays impose a global overlay topology that is then maintained by all peers in a complex protocol. In contrast to unstructured approaches the structured overlays are efficient and scalable, but leave little flexibility in how their topology can be adapted to the needs of the application. We propose a generic overlay maintenance and routing algorithm that combines the simplicity of the unstructured overlays and the scalability of the structured approaches, while allowing the application to define its own peer identifier space. The overlay topology is not explicitly defined but emerges in a self-organized way as the result of simple maintenance rules. Independently of the identifier space used, our algorithm exhibits logarithmic scaling of the average routing path length and the average node degree. The proposed maintenance and routing algorithm is simple and places few constraints on how peers can open their connections. This together with the ability to adjust both the identifier space and the tradeoff between the path length and the node degree makes the overlay customizable in ways that are not possible in the existing approaches.

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