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Bistro - a Platform for Building Scalable Wide-area Upload Applications

Hot spots are a major obstacle to achieving scalability in the Internet. At the application layer, hot spots are usually caused by either (a) high demand for some data or (b) high demand for a certain service. This high demand for data or services, is typically the result of a real-life event involving availability of new data or approaching deadlines; therefore, relief of these hot spots improves quality of life. At the application layer, hot spot problems have traditionally been dealt with using some combination of (1) increasing capacity and (2) spreading the load over time, space, or both. Some examples of these are data replication (e.g., web caching, ftp mirroring), data replacement (e.g., multi-resolution images, audio, video), service replication (e.g., DNS lookup, Network Time Protocol), and server push (e.g., news download, software distribution).

We note that the classes of solutions stated above have been studied mostly in the context of applications using the following types of communication

  • one-to-many (data travels primarily from a server to multiple clients, e.g., web download, software distribution, and video-on-demand);

  • many-to-many (data travels between multiple clients, through either a centralized or a distributed server, e.g., chat rooms and video conferencing); and

  • one-to-one (data travels between two clients, e.g., e-mail and e-talk).
However, to the best of our knowledge there is no existing work on making many-to-one applications scalable and efficient (existing solutions, such as web based submissions, simply use many independent one-to-one transfers). This corresponds to an important class of applications, whose examples include the various upload applications such as submission of income tax forms, conference paper submission, proposal submission through the NSF FastLane system, homework and project submissions in distance education, voting in digital democracy applications, voting in interactive television, and many more. Consequently, the main focus of this project is scalable infrastructure design for relief of hot spots in wide-area upload applications.

Our contributions in this project are as follows. We state (a) a new problem, specifically, the many-to-one communication, or upload, problem as well as (b) the (currently) fundamental obstacles to building scalable wide-area upload applications. We also propose a general framework, which we term the Bistro system, for a class of solutions to the upload problem.

  • "Scalable Wide-Area Upload System and Method." US Patent No. 7,181,623, February 20th, 2007.
For more information, please contact Professor Leana Golubchik.

[Last updated Mon May 17 2004]    [Please see copyright regarding copying.]    [Bistro is an Internet Multimedia Lab project]    [Bistro is supported by the National Science Foundation's Digital Government Research Program]