Peer-to-Peer (P2P) computing is a recent hot topic in the areas of networking and distributed systems. Work on P2P computing was triggered by a number of ad-hoc systems that made the concept popular. Later, academic research efforts started to investigate P2P computing issues based on scientific principles. Some of that research produced a number of structured P2P systems that were collectively referred to by the term ``Distributed Hash Tables'' (DHTs). However, the research occurred in a diversified way leading to the appearance of similar concepts yet lacking a common perspective and not heavily analyzed. In this thesis we present a number of papers representing our research results in the area of structured P2P systems grouped as two sets labeled respectively ``Designs'' and ``Analyses''.
The contribution of the first set of papers is as follows. First, we present the principle of distributed k-ary search (DKS) and argue that it serves as a framework for most of the recent P2P systems known as DHTs. That is, given the DKS framework, understanding existing DHT systems is done simply by seeing how they are instances of that framework. We argue that by perceiving systems as instances of the DKS framework, one can optimize some of them. We illustrate that by applying the framework to the Chord system, one of the most established DHT systems. Second, We show how the DKS framework helps in the design of P2P algorithms by two examples: (a) The DKS(n;k;f) system which is a system designed from the beginning on the principles of distributed k-ary search. (b) Two broadcast algorithms that take advantage of the distributed k-ary search tree.
The contribution of the second set of papers is as follows. We account for two approaches that we used to evaluate the performance of a particular class of DHTs, namely the one adopting periodic stabilization for topology maintenance. The first approach was of an intrinsic empirical nature. In that approach, we tried to perceive a DHT as a physical system and account for its properties in a size-independent manner. The second approach was of a more analytical nature. In this approach we applied the technique of Master equations, which is a widely used technique in the analysis of natural systems. The application of the technique lead to a highly accurate description of the behavior of structured overlays.
Additionally, the thesis contains a primer on structured P2P systems that tries to capture the main ideas that are prevailing in the field and enumerates a subset of the current hot and open research issues.
Stockholm: KTH , 2005. , 229 p.