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Unformatted text preview: Overcoming Free-Riding Behavior in Peer-to-Peer Systems MICHAL FELDMAN and JOHN CHUANG School of Information Management and Systems University of California, Berkeley While the fundamental premise of peer-to-peer (P2P) systems is that of voluntary resource sharing among individual peers, there is an inherent tension between individual rationality and collective welfare that threatens the viability of these systems. This paper surveys recent research at the intersection of economics and computer science that targets the design of distributed systems consisting of rational participants with diverse and selfish interests. In particular, we discuss major findings and open questions related to free-riding in P2P systems: factors affecting the degree of free-riding, incentive mechanisms to encourage user cooperation, and challenges in the design of incentive mechanisms for P2P systems. Categories and Subject Descriptors: C.2.4 [ Computer-Communication Networks ]: Distributed Systems; J.4 [ Social And Behavioral Sciences ]: Economics General Terms: Algorithms, Design, Economics, Performance, Reliability Additional Key Words and Phrases: incentives, cooperation, peer-to-peer, hidden-action, hidden- information, game-theory 1. INTRODUCTION The peer-to-peer (P2P) communications model has emerged a widely deployed al- ternative to the traditional client-server model for many distributed systems. In a typical P2P system, each node is owned and operated by an independent entity, and the nodes collectively form a self-organizing, self-maintaining network with no central authority. As a result, P2P system performance is highly dependent on the amount of voluntary resource contribution from the individual nodes. Traditional system design assumes obedient users users who adhere to a spec- ified protocol without consideration of their own utility. However, this obedience assumption appears unrealistic in P2P settings where individual participants may interact with one another with varying degrees of collaboration and competition. Therefore, researchers have turned in recent years to a model of rational users users who act to maximize their own utility, including deviating from the proto- Authors address: M. Feldman and J. Chuang, School of Information Management and Systems, 102 South Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-4600. Permission to make digital/hard copy of all or part of this material without fee for personal or classroom use provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage, the ACM copyright/server notice, the title of the publication, and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the ACM, Inc. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists requires prior specific permission and/or a fee....
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- Fall '11