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Digital Fountains: Applications and Related Issues Michael Mitzenmacher.

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Presentation on theme: "Digital Fountains: Applications and Related Issues Michael Mitzenmacher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Digital Fountains: Applications and Related Issues Michael Mitzenmacher

2 Goals Explain the digital fountain paradigm for network communication. Examine related advances in coding. Summarize work on applications. Speculate on what comes next. For more, see –Digital Fountains: A Survey and Look Forward –

3 What is a Digital Fountain? For this talk, a digital fountain is an ideal/paradigm for data transmission. –Vs. the standard (TCP) paradigm: data is an ordered finite sequence of bytes. Instead, with a digital fountain, a k symbol file yields an infinite data stream; once you have received any k symbols from this stream, you can quickly reconstruct the original file.

4 How Do We Build a Digital Fountain? We can construct (approximate) digital fountains using erasure codes. –Including Reed-Solomon, Tornado, LT, fountain codes. Generally, we only come close to the ideal of the paradigm. –Streams not truly infinite; encoding or decoding times; coding overhead.

5 History Reed-Solomon codes Tornado Codes Luby Transform Rateless/Raptor codes

6 Raptor/Rateless Codes Properties: –“Infinite” supply of packets possible. –Need k(1+  ) symbols to decode, for some  > 0. –Decoding time proportional to k ln (1/  ). –On average, ln (1/  ) (constant) time to produce an encoding symbol. Conclusion: these codes can be made very efficient and deliver on the promise of the digital fountain paradigm.

7 Applications Reliable multicast Parallel downloads Long-distance transmission (avoiding TCP) One-to-many TCP Content distribution on overlay networks Streaming video

8 Reliable Multicast Many potential problems when multicasting to large audience. –Feedback explosion of lost packets. –Start time heterogeneity. –Loss/bandwidth heterogeneity. A digital fountain solves these problems. –Each user gets what they can, and stops when they have enough.

9 Downloading in Parallel Can collect data from multiple digital fountains for the same source seamlessly. –Since each fountain has an “infinite” collection of packets, no duplicates. –Relative fountain speeds unimportant; just need to get enough. –Combined multicast/multigather possible. Can be used for BitTorrent-like applications.

10 Point-to-Point Data Transmission TCP has problems over long-distance connections. –Packets must be acknowledged to increase sending window (packets in flight). –Long round-trip time leads to slow acks, bounding transmission window. –Any loss increases the problem. Using digital fountain + TCP-friendly congestion control can greatly speed up connections. Separates the “what you send” from “how much” you send. –Do not need to buffer for retransmission.

11 One-to-Many TCP Setting: Web server with popular files, may have many open connections serving same file. –Problem: has to have a separate buffer, state for each connection to handle retransmissions. –Limits number of connections per server. Instead, use a digital fountain to generate packets useful for all connections for that file. Separates the “what you send” from “how much” you send. –Do not need to buffer for retransmission. Keeps TCP semantics, congestion control.

12 Distribution on Overlay Networks Encoded data make sense for overlay networks. –Changing, heterogeneous network conditions. –Allows multicast. –Allows downloading from multiple sources, as well as peers. Problem: peers may be getting same encoded packets as you, via the multicast. –Not standard digital fountain paradigm. Requires reconciliation techniques to find peers with useful packets.

13 Video Streaming For “near-real-time” video: –Latency issue. Solution: break into smaller blocks, and encode over these blocks. –Equal-size blocks. –Blocks increases in size geometrically, for only logarithmically many blocks. Engineering to get right latency, ensure blocks arrive on time for display.

14 Other Applications Other possible applications outside of networking –Storage systems –Digital fountain codes for errors –Others???

15 Putting Digital Fountains To Use Digital fountains are out there. –Digital Fountain, Inc. sells them. Limitations to their use: –Patent issues. –Perceived complexity. Lack of reference implementation. –What is the killer app?

16 Patent Issues Several patents / patents pending on irregular LDPC codes, LT codes, Raptor codes by Digital Fountain, Inc. Supposition: the theory/practice of digital fountains was greatly developed by the company and its employees. Supposition: but this stifles external innovation. –Potential threat of being sued. –Potential lack of commercial outlet for research. Suggestion: need unpatented alternative that approximate a digital fountain. –There is work going on in this area, but more is needed to keep up with recent developments in rateless codes.

17 Perceived Complexity Digital fountains are now not that hard… …but networking people do not want to deal with developing codes. A research need: –A publicly available, easy to use, reasonably good black box digital fountain implementation that can be plugged in to research prototypes. Issue: patents. –Legal risk suggests such a black box would need to be based on unpatented codes.

18 What’s the Killer App? Multicast was supposed to be the killer app. –But IP multicast was/is a disaster. –Distribution now handled by content distributions companies, e.g. Akamai. Possibilities: –Overlay multicast. –General wireless: e.g. video phones. –Specialized wireless: e.g. automobiles. –Others???

19 Conclusions Digital fountain paradigm and enabling codes have significant potential. –Many proposed applications. –More to come. Applications helped push forward the technology. –Codes with better and better properties. Challenge in moving from a “technology” to use in the real-world. –A simple, easy-to-use implementation based on non- proprietary might spur research community. –Need more potential killer apps to spur business community.

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