Towards an Architecture for Extreme P2P Applications

N. Shalaby and J. Zinky (USA)


Peer-to-Peer, Applications, Distributed Agents, Real Time Systems, Middleware, Development Cycle


The scope of the peer-to-peer (P2P) paradigm has expanded beyond the research arena and has become ubiquitous in commercial, industrial and military applications. This ubiquity, however, comes at the cost of significant handicap in design and development of large scale, reliable, complex realtime applications, as they do not fit into readily available optimized P2P solutions, such as file distribution, grid computing, or Pub/Sub message-passing networks. Rather, these applications necessitate custom development, a high-risk, time consuming and expensive process. We approach this gap by categorizing the problem space into an application taxonomy, and identifying a new class, which we call Extreme P2P applications. Extreme applications are characterized by cross-cutting dimensions of severe QoS requirements, variable resource constraints, evolution during deployment, inherent human participation during operation, and small market share – to name a few. Such characteristics contribute to their development being a significant challenge. We address this challenge by first, proposing a novel architecture for Extreme Applications, and second, by introducing a newly re-architected, comprehensive middleware, Cougaar, as a suitable platform for its implementation. We demonstrate the suitability via an architectural mapping, and show how the novel two-tier Cougaar architecture addresses the contextual domain of many such applications by being backward compatible with existing distributed and P2P systems.

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