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I'm not really sure why, but for a long time now, I've had this penchant for peer-to-peer systems. A part of it is this awe at emergent complexity and emergence in general. Another part is a disdain for organized structure, because it always seems so fragile. Not really sure... I'll have to figure that out another time.

Sophomore year of college, Ben got a bunch of us together to implement his grand vision of Peerahna, a hybrid p2p network. The structure that he came up with is what all the biggest networks today (Kazaa, edonkey, cutemx) use - the idea of supernodes managing ordinary client nodes on the network. We never really made anything of peerahna, partly cause we really weren't the best coders then, and none of us really wanted to take the time to follow through once we got our course credit.

Anyway, I felt a little bad about doing peer-to-peer stuff again this time around, cause it seems like something that's kinda crowded right now. There's also always that guilty feeling that people try to shove on you about copyright infringement and hurting the artists, but I never really took that one too seriously. A recent empirical study done by one prof at the Harvard Business School and another at UNC-Chapel Hill shows strong evidence that file sharing networks have a statistically insignificant effect on record sales. So that fixed one moral qualm of mine, leaving only the "eh... crowded field" feeling. But as we got working on our project, I started getting excited again, cause I really think we have some interesting ideas.

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