Systemic risk and user-level performance in private P2P communities

AL Jia, R Rahman, T Vinko, JA Pouwelse, DHJ Epema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Many peer-to-peer communities, including private BitTorrent Communities that serve hundreds of thousands of users, utilize
credit-based or sharing ratio enforcement schemes to incentivize their members to contribute. In this paper, we analyze the performance
of such communities from both the system-level and the user-level perspectives. We show that both credit-based and sharing ratio
enforcement policies can lead to system-wide “crunches” or “crashes” where the system seizes completely due to too little or to too
much credit, respectively. We explore the conditions that lead to these system pathologies and present a theoretical model that predicts
if a community will eventually crunch or crash. We apply this analysis to design an adaptive credit system that automatically adjusts
credit policies to maintain sustainability. Given private communities that are sustainable, it has been demonstrated that they are greatly
oversupplied in terms of excessively high seeder-to-leecher ratios. We further analyze the user-level performance by studying the
effects of oversupply. We show that although achieving an increase in the average downloading speed, the phenomenon of oversupply
has three undesired effects: long seeding times, low upload capacity utilizations, and an unfair playing field for late entrants into swarms.
To alleviate these problems, we propose four different strategies, which have been inspired by ideas in social sciences and economics.
We evaluate these strategies through simulations and demonstrate their positive effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2503-2512
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript
Published online 5-12-2012


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