Gee thanks Jon.....    :] 

You are very right Ping - we are creating a web app, not monkyeing with
TCP/IP...  Dr. Reed already took care of that.  That paper brings little
enlightenment to this very nice design squabble we have embroiled
ourselves in.

But here goes my dippy esoteric argument anyways. 

The end-to-end principal is relevant to the design of all networks,
computer and social. The end-to-end principal is the momentum behind
Howard Dean's campaign.  The GOP is AT&T and packet-switched-politics is
about to show the world how democracy is done.  We are networking the
future of civic participation tens of layers above the TCP/IP stack and
we must do it with humility.

It is about removing innovation bottlenecks.  It is about keeping "the
man" in check no matter how benevolent you are.  It is about stepping
back and saying this system is bigger than me, bigger than my ideas, and
I like it that way.

Centralized is simpler. Centralized is easier. Centralized works wonders
until it doesn't and then it stands arms akimbo in the way of the

So either the media-network intelligence goes in the nodes of the
network, or it goes straight to the center of the Dean Media Team

Well, my studiously ignored mango sherbet is now almost completely
melted so my "Group-Forming" arguments will have to wait until

What do you guys think?


-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Lebkowsky [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 11:20 PM
To: Ka-Ping Yee; Zack Rosen
Subject: RE: [hackers] Re: Edge-to-Edge Principal / Reed's Law

It occurred to me that it might be useful to include David Reed in the
for this msg.

David, hoping you will have time to comment on the notes below. The
hack4dean guys are building a network to support regime change and then

Jon L.

> Subject: [hackers] Re: Edge-to-Edge Principal / Reed's Law
> Hi, Zack.
> Thanks for the pointers.  I'm copying the list on this so we can all
> have the same context in this discussion.
> --------------------------
> On Thu, 31 Jul 2003, zachary rosen wrote:
> >
> [...]
> > A lot more can be found on Edge to Edge (also referred to as end to
> > end) from google.  It is something that has been talked about for
> > quite some time.
> Ah -- now i see that you are talking about what is familiar to me as
> the "end-to-end argument".  I do know the Saltzer, Reed, and Clark
> paper [1].  I wondered if this is what you meant by "edge-to-edge",
> but you seemed to be describing something so different from the
> end-to-end argument that i assumed you must have meant something else.
> I think you have misunderstood what Saltzer et al. were trying to say.
> Let me try to explain.  The "end-to-end argument" is a design
> principle that has to do with deciding whether system functionality
> should be placed at high levels or low levels.  The paper argues that
> functions placed at low levels may be redundant or to costly to be
> worth it, because the same functions often have to get reimplemented
> by the higher levels anyway -- because the higher levels (e.g. the
> application) know their own needs better.
> Putting functionality at a lower level amounts to making an assumption
> that every application will want that functionality.  But if your
> assumption is wrong, the lower levels might waste a lot of resources
> trying to provide a service that the application doesn't even need.
> So you should rely on intelligence at the highest level (in the case
> of a network, the endpoints of communication) instead of getting too
> obsessed with the lower levels.
> For example, it might seem reasonable to assume that a network should
> always deliver error-free packets.  So adding a checksum-and-retry
> feature to a network layer in order to guarantee accurate delivery may
> seem like a good idea.  But there are some applications that care more
> about speed than accuracy -- such as voice over IP -- and these would
> be harmed by the inefficiency of a checksum-and-retry feature.
> Now let's return to our question about whether the media database
> should be centralized.  Regardless of whether it is centralized or
> distributed, we are still obeying the end-to-end argument: we are not
> putting any smarts in the transport layer (TCP/IP); we are totally
> relying on smarts at the endpoints of communication (that is, the Web
> browser and the Web server).  No one is putting in functions at a low
> level that are getting reimplemented at a higher level.
> So the end-to-end argument has no bearing on our decision at all.
> In particular, it is purely an efficiency argument, and it doesn't
> say anything about peer-to-peer networks.  (Be warned, by the way,
> that lots of companies use the terms "end-to-end" and "peer-to-peer"
> because they are fashionable, not because they know what they mean.)
> -------------
> >
> Originally, my response was going to be that Reed's Law has no effect
> on our decision either.  Reed's Law says that the utility of a network
> is exponentially related to the number of participants.  But it
> doesn't matter whether you have 5 users at site A and 5 users at site
> B, or just 10 users at site Z -- you still have 10 users, and utility
> on the order of 2^10.  The utility is the same regardless of whether
> the database is centralized or distributed.
> But then i went back and read the original paper [2] and thought about
> it a little more.  Now i've realized that Reed's Law actually argues
> in *favour* of a centralized database.
> Notice that the paper doesn't say "all networks have utility that
> scales exponentially in the number of participants".  It refers to a
> specific *type* of network -- a "Group-Forming Network".  In his
> words:
>     A GFN has functionality that directly enables and supports
>     affiliations (such as interest groups, clubs, meetings,
>     communities) among subsets of its customers.  Group tools and
>     technologies (also called community tools) such as user-defined
>     mailing lists, chat rooms, discussion groups, buddy lists, team
>     rooms, trading rooms, user groups, market makers, and auction
>     hosts, all have a common theme -- they allow small or large
>     groups of network users to coalesce and to organize their
>     communications around a common interest, issue, or goal.
> The reason that the utility scales exponentially is that, if N people
> are allowed to form and coordinate their own groups of any size, then
> there are 2^N possible groups that can be formed.  The whole point of
> Reed's paper is to argue that this group-forming capability is
> essential and extremely powerful.  As an example, he compares ordinary
> e-mail to mailing lists.  Ordinary point-to-point e-mail connects only
> two people, so its utility scales by N^2 (Metcalfe's Law).  But a
> mailing list can coordinate any number of members, so its utility
> scales by 2^N (Reed's Law).
> How does this bear on our media database?  It tells us that enabling
> people to self-associate into groups (perhaps around individual media
> items, media projects, or collections of media) is crucial.  And if
> you look at the media items themselves as participants, it's clear
> that the ability to gather and share collections of media is also
> crucial, because it can yield the same exponential effect.
> Giving people and media items a fixed address at one location vastly
> simplifies the problem of forming these groups and collections.  It's
> much harder to find other users and media items scattered across many
> different sites than at one central site.  (This is why we are
> building VV!)  And it's much harder to coordinate and update a
> collection containing items scattered across many sites than at one
> central site.
> Reed's Law argues that our media network must be a Group-Forming
> Network. To form these groups, we have to link media items and people
> together and to each other.  As i explained in our IRC discussion,
> this is easy to do if the database is centralized and very
> complicated otherwise.
> We have a candidate to get into office, an opposing $200 million
> campaign about to wage an all-out war on us, and no time to waste.
> I favour the simpler solution.
> -- ?!ng
> [1] Saltzer, Reed, and Clark.  End-to-end Arguments in System Design.
> [2] Reed.  That Sneaky Exponential -- Beyond Metcalfe's Law to the
>     Power of Community Building.

Reply via email to