Today, "peer to peer" is inextricably linked to a variety of techniques for P2P file-sharing, whereby the recipients of a large file supply chunks of data to other recipients.
This distributes the load compared with everyone downloading a file from some central. For this and other reasons, P2P networks have proven popular for sharing MP3 music files although they're suitable for distributing any sizable digital content; for example, one also sees P2P employed to distribute Linux distributions, which can run into the gigabytes.
However, a few weeks ago I attended MIT Technology Review's EmTech07 Emerging Technologies Conference and attended a session where I was reminded that another "P2P" was once the subject of great buzz.
At the Fall 2000 Intel Developer Forum, outgoing Intel CEO Craig Barrett called peer-to-peer computing a "new wave which is going to have material impact on our industry." And he wasn't talking about file sharing.
Pat Gelsinger, who was Intel's CTO at the time, was even more enthusiastic in his keynote:… Read more