Improving efficiency and fairness in P2P systems with effort-based incentives

Rahman, Rameez; Meulpolder, Michel; Hales, David; Pouwelse, John; Epema, Dick and Sips, Henk (2010). Improving efficiency and fairness in P2P systems with effort-based incentives. In: 2010 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), 23-17 May 2010, Cape Town, South Africa.



Most P2P systems that have any kind of incentive mechanism reward peers’ contribution in terms of uploaded volume. Due to the disparity in bandwidth capacity between P2P users on the Internet, the common effect of such mechanisms is that the fastest peers reap the highest benefits. We take a different approach and study how to incentivize cooperation in P2P systems based on peers’ effort, i.e., contribution relative to capacity.We make the following contributions: 1) we propose that volume-based incentive schemes in P2P systems unnecessarily punish slow peers and decrease overall system performance; 2) we advocate that principles from an alternate economic vision, Participatory Economics (Parecon), can inspire systems which are fair and ensure maximization of the social welfare, while being efficient at the same time and 3) we present simulation results of applied principles from Parecon to two popular real life systems: a) the popular file sharing BitTorrent protocol, b) a generic credit based sharing ratio enforcement scheme. Our approach yields higher system performance and fairness for both, and offers interesting new insights into P2P incentive design.

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