Exchange mechanisms and cooperative distributed system design

Kostas G Anagnostakis, University of Pennsylvania


We consider the problem of designing incentive mechanisms in cooperative distributed systems. Early proposals using monetary and reputation mechanisms have seemed vulnerable to selfish adversaries, and are either too complex or do not provide strong incentives for cooperation. In contrast, recent work, primarily work presented in this thesis, has illustrated specific instances of systems where exchange mechanisms seem to provide an effective solution to the incentive problem, without the inherent complexity and centralization problems of previous proposals. However, the role of these mechanisms, their applicability and the trade-offs between economic efficiency, complexity and robustness are not clearly understood. This dissertation demonstrates that exchange mechanisms are widely applicable for providing incentives in cooperative distributed systems. We illustrate the effectiveness of exchange through the study of two applications: file sharing and peer-to-peer telephony. We show through analysis, simulation, and real-world measurements that, where applicable, exchange-based mechanisms can provide strong incentives for cooperation without the security and complexity problems of previous proposals. Furthermore; we outline conditions under which exchange is feasible, and provide a decision procedure that determines whether exchange applies to a given problem and helps guide the design of an effective exchange mechanism.

Subject Area

Computer science

Recommended Citation

Anagnostakis, Kostas G, "Exchange mechanisms and cooperative distributed system design" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3165633.