Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
At a time when some high-placed dumbheads still fail to see or admit the huge leap BitTorrent has caused in so many ways, others prove (as if it was necessary) that is the man who actually makes the difference most of the times when it comes to placing something in one category or another, good or bad.
A team of researchers at the University of California Davis have decided to give BitTorrent a much fruitful use than usually (downloading movies and music that is) and launch a tracker site called BioTorrents dedicated entirely to sharing and publishing scientific material.
“The transfer of scientific data has emerged as a significant challenge, as datasets continue to grow in size and demand for open access sharing increases. Current methods for file transfer do not scale well for large files and can cause long transfer times,” reads an abstract describing the site. “In this study we present BioTorrents, a website that allows open access sharing of scientific data and uses the popular BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing technology. BioTorrents allows files to be transferred rapidly due to the sharing of bandwidth across multiple institutions and provides more reliable file transfers due to the built-in error checking of the file sharing technology.”
What prompted the researchers to this decision was the disadvantage HTTP and FTP services presents by allowing a single source of the data, plus the large amounts of bandwidth required to make “adequate” download speeds possible. Apart from this, in case the single server that host the data is down, the data can be easily lost.
“If BitTorrent technology was implemented for these datasets then the data supplier would benefit from decreased bandwidth use, while researchers downloading the data, especially those not on the same continent as the data supplier, enjoy faster transfer times,” explained the founders of BioTorrent hoping at the same time to inspire other fellow colleagues and institution to follow their example and adopt BitTorrent in their work.
“This form of data publishing allows open and rapid access to information that would expedite science, especially for time-sensitive events such as the recent outbreaks of influenza H1N1 or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS),” goes on the explanation. “No matter what the circumstance, BioTorrents provides a useful resource for advancing the sharing of open scientific information.”
Probably, once they give BioTorrent a try many researchers will wonder how come they haven’t thought of this before.
Currently, the site lists 663 registered users, 27 torrents, 95 peers, 86s seeders, seeder/leecher ratio (%) 956.