[p2pi] IRTF - P2P Research Group

stefano previdi <sprevidi@cisco.com> Thu, 13 November 2008 11:03 UTC

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Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:02:46 +0100
From: stefano previdi <sprevidi@cisco.com>
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Cc: Volker Hilt <volkerh@alcatel-lucent.com>, Aaron Falk <falk@bbn.com>
Subject: [p2pi] IRTF - P2P Research Group
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Following the new creation of IETF WGs scoped around issues of
peer-to-peer applications (ALTO and LEDBAT) and considering the
interest into a forum where research topics related to p2p can
be discussed, we started an effort in order to re-activate the
IRTF Peer-to-peer Research Group with the proposed (updated)
charter below. The p2prg will of course interact with the IETF

Any comments, feedback and suggestions are welcome.


Peer-to-Peer Research Group (P2PRG)

Mailing Lists:
The email list is p2prg@irtf.org. You need not be a list member to send
mail to the list. To subscribe, visit the P2PRG mail page
(https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/p2prg) or send an email to

Documents and members only discussion mailing list can be found at the
P2Prg web site: 

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) is a way of structuring distributed applications such
that the individual nodes have symmetric roles. Rather than being
divided into clients and servers each with quite distinct roles (such as
Web clients vs. Web servers), in P2P applications each node can act as
both a client and a server. A key concept for P2P systems is therefore
to permit any two peers to communicate with one another in such a way
that either ought to be able to initiate the contact. P2P systems in
general are highly distributed, highly scalable to large numbers of
nodes and users, highly autonomous, and can lend themselves to anonymity.

Some historical examples of P2P systems are USENET servers, built on top
of NNTP, and inter-domain routing, built on top of BGP. More recent P2P
systems are file sharing networks such as Gnutella, BitTorrent,
eDonkey/eMule and voice-over-IP applications such as Skype.

While P2P systems are deployed and used on a large scale, many research
questions in the field of P2P remain open. For example, current P2P
systems often form their overlay networks based on application layer
information and ignore the structure and policies of the underlying
network infrastructure. As a result, peers often connect to peers in a
remote network even though an equivalent peer would be available in the
local network. This can lead to the inefficient use of network resources
and to conflicts between application- and network-level routing. Another
problem arises from the fact that many different P2P systems are defined
and deployed. It is desirable for users on one system to be able to
reach users on other P2P systems without requiring applications to
implement the mechanisms and protocols of all systems available.
Mechanisms for interconnecting and interoperability between P2P systems
are needed. Many P2P systems are based on distributed hash tables
(DHTs), which implement a distributed storage for key-value pairs. While
DHTs are effective in looking up a specific key, search and information
retrieval in DHTs remain challenging problems. Peer nodes in a P2P
network perform services for other peers. A challenge is therefore to
protect a P2P network against malicious nodes which may try to alter the
service or disable it. Finally, it is interesting to evaluate P2P
systems that are deployed to better understand the performance of
algorithms deployed and the behavior of user. Performance and usage data
is an important foundation for the development of new P2P mechanisms and
architectures. Mechanisms and tools that collect this information from
existing p2p systems are highly desirable.

Overall, the field of P2P technologies presents a number of interesting
challenges which includes new methods for forming P2P application
overlays, interconnecting distinct P2P application overlays, performing
routing and peer selection decisions, managing traffic and discovering
resources. Other challenges are related to storage, reliability, and
information retrieval in P2P systems. Yet another challenging area for
P2P is security, privacy, anonymity and trust. Finally, it is
challenging to examine P2P systems that are deployed, for example, to
measure, monitor and characterize P2P applications. The P2P RG will
collaborate with academia and industry on making progress addressing
these challenges.

The IETF has formed working groups to address specific issues of P2P
networking. During the development of standards for P2P networks in
these working groups, new research topics may arise that exceed the
working group charter and require a separate forum for discussion. The
P2P RG will provide such a forum. The IETF has chartered working groups
related to the following topics:
        - Peer-to-Peer SIP signaling (P2PSIP)
        - Application-Layer Traffic Optimization (ALTO)
        - Low Extra Delay Background Transport (LEDBAT)

The P2PRG will maintain a list of prioritized topics in order to organize
the activity of the research group according to agreed importance and

The P2PRG will use an open mailing list (p2prg@irtf.org) as the main
communication vehicle for the group.

The P2PRG will encourage the organization of the work in smaller design
teams focused on specific areas of research. The design teams will use
the general mailing list in order to allow the broader community to
follow the evolution of their topics.

Most of the communication inside the P2PRG will be done through use of
mailing lists, however, the group will hold regular physical meetings
at least once a year in conjunction with IETF meetings.  Additional
meetings  may be held at IETF or other venues, such as in conjunction
with related academic conferences.

The P2PRG will produce Informational and Experimental RFCs in order to
document the activity of the group and to formalize the outcome of the
research topics carried by the group. In addition, such documentation
could become input to IETF working groups.

The RG operates in an open fashion (meetings & mailing list).

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