Tribler : From Bittorrent to Tor-inspired HD streaming and self-compiling code by Prof. Johan Pouwelse

Abstract :

For over 16 years Delft University of Technology has been measuring and building P2P systems, aided by millions of Euros in research funding from the European Union and Dutch government. During this talk we will explain the inner workings of "Tribler", a fully decentralized P2P system focused on privacy and resilience to shutdown. Now, Tribler has been installed by over 1,700,000 users and represents the state-of-the-art in the field. The most recent improvement of Tribler is the addition of Tor-like privacy preservation, allowing users to distribute content with anonymity and decreased censorship. Tribler features include: backward compatibility with Bittorrent, HD video streaming, wiki-style moderation, voting on channels of torrents, and reputation system. Tribler shows us the real-world behavior of large-scale systems, critical feedback on the performance of novel algorithms, and vital information on actual user behavior and community dynamics. Tribler is not dependent and completely decoupled from unreliable servers such as DNS servers, web servers, swarm trackers and access portals. Our aim is a scalable overlay which is unbreakable: the only way to take it down is to take the Internet down. During this talk our self-compiling Android prototype will be unveiled, potentially even removing this Internet need. We present the first smartphone tool that is capable of self-compilation, mutation, and viral spreading. Our autonomous Android app does not require a host computer to alter its instructions, change its own appearance, and lacks the normal necessity of a central app market to spread among hosts. We pioneered these survival skills for mobile software in order to offer citizens protection against Internet kill switches. Internet kill switches have proven to be an effective tool to eradicate Internet and all forms of digital communication within an hour on a country-wide basis. This presentation will cover the scientific problems, engineering challenges, lessons learned as well as funding and resource issues encountered when building production-level systems.

Biography :

Dr. Johan Pouwelse is an associate professor at Delft University of Technology, specialized in large-scale cooperative systems. During his PhD he created the first system for cooperative resource management for portable devices on Linux. This resulted in the first portable hardware and Linux driver capable of reducing CPU frequency and voltage from user-space in 2001. The driver got accepted into the Linux kernel and is now used by every Android and iOS mobile device. Also, he conducted the first resource usage measurements for IEEE 802.11b wireless links. After receiving his PhD, he shifted the focus of his research towards the explosive growth of P2P networks. He was one of the first researchers who focused on getting a thorough understanding of the characteristics and challenges of P2P file sharing systems, by conducting a detailed two-year measurement study of BitTorrent. He currently leads the P2P research team which created the Tribler P2P system. The Tribler group is the largest experimental research group in the field of P2P and responsible for several world-first innovations. Tribler serves as a living laboratory and proving ground for next-generation P2P technology. Dr. Pouwelse has (co-)authored over 129 scientific papers.