Academic Torrents

The future belongs to architectures that move beyond the single-server, domain-based model towards federated solutions. More specifically, we’ll see a move from server-centered networks to content-centered networks. Both models will remain, but the pendulum will swing.

You see this in SOLID’s decoupling of data from server applications, in the InterPlanetary File Systems use of a torrent-like cloud. You see it in federated wiki’s vision of portable douments that clone freely between servers, tied together by unique IDs and common history.

But you also can see it in interest in older technologies as well. Academic Torrents made the Hacker News top spot today. A little investigation shows it to be not much more than a basic tracker (correct me if I’m wrong). Torrenting as structured is problematic for a lot of uses people want to put it to, and I think the future looks more like IPFS than BitTorrent, but even the fact that torrenting academic data sets can be seen as news is probably significant. Something is definitely up.

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