Supporting Social Networks With Agent-Based Services

Supporting Social Networks With Agent-Based Services

Michele Tomaiuolo (Department of Information Engineering, University of Parma, Parma, Italy), Agostino Poggi (Department of Information Engineering, University of Parma, Parma, Italy) and Enrico Franchi (Department of Information Engineering, University of Parma, Parma, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/jvcsn.2013010104


Current approaches to build social networking systems are based on a centralized architecture because it allows a simple browser-based user experience and makes easier and more efficient to implement many algorithms used in a social networking site (e.g., friend suggestion), However this kind of architecture has many drawbacks for its users, e.g., lack of privacy, lack of anonymity, risks of censorship and operating costs. This paper presents a system, called Blogracy, which uses widespread and stable peer-to-peer technologies, such as distributed hash tables and BitTorrent, for coping with intrinsic defects of centralized architectures and for being the basis of solid distributed social networking platforms. Moreover, Blogracy takes advantages of multi-agent systems for simplifying the implementation of social network services in a decentralized setting.
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Blogracy is an anonymous and uncensorable microblogging platform, built incrementally over BitTorrent (Cohen, 2003), a popular and resilient file-sharing service. The architecture of the platform is modular and is built around a module for basic file sharing and DHT operations, possibly exploiting an existing implementation, and another module providing a set of social services to the local user through a Web interface. Moreover, the platform provides two additional agent based modules respectively providing a set of pervasive services and a set of information retrieval and pushing services. In particular, the current prototype of Blogracy takes advantage of:

  • Vuze (Vuze, 2013), a popular BitTorrent client implemented in Java and available as open source software, for implementing the file sharing and DHT operations;

  • Open Social (OpenSocial and Gadgets Specification Group, 2013), a set of APIs supporting the sharing of social data, for implementing the social services;

  • JADE (Bellifemine et al., 2008), probably the most known agent development environment enabling the integration of agents and both knowledge and Internet-oriented technologies, for implementing the agent-based services. Figure 1 shows the Blogracy system architecture.

Figure 1.

System architecture

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