Kalman Graffi – LifeSocial.KOM

LifeSocial MainScreenshots and VideosTechnical DetailsPublications

LifeSocial - A Distributed Platform for Social Online Networks

LifeSocial is a P2P-based Social Online Network Platform developed by Kalman Graffi at Multimedia Communications Lab (KOM) directed by Prof. Ralf Steinmetz at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. 

Social networking sites are web-based platforms allowing users to publish personal profiles, link each other, post pictures, blog entries, join groups and search for friends. Several hundred millions of users participate in today’s social networks like Facebook, MySpace or StudiVZ. However, due to the centralized character of these platforms, high server maintenance cost exists. Still, many popular sites do not generate sufficient profit to maintain their platform and require external financial support leading to sometimes doubtable processing of the user data.
Alternatives to centralized infrastructures exist in various other popular applications like Skype or BitTorrent. A p2p-based approach solves the load and cost issues, but also leads to new challenging research issues. We at Multimedia Communications Lab at Technische Universität Darmstadt have researched and developed a functional prototype for a p2p-based social online network, called LifeSocial. It provides the same functionality as popular online social networks and goes even beyond their capabilities by providing plugins for direct user cooperation. We believe that social online networks could benefit essentially from p2p based solutions as well as that the next big application area for the p2p paradigm is to be found in online social networks.

 

Explanatory Slides and Video

Overview slides (PDF)

Explanatory video (MP4)

Overview on the Features

LifeSocial is comepletely distributed:

  • All personal and shared data is stored in the network that is created by the users of LifeSocial
  • Every user device provides a small part of storage space and bandwidth to keep the LifeSocial network alive.
  • Although all data is stored distributedly, the security of the data and user-to-user communication is provided.

Secure data storage and user communication:

  • LifeSocial bootstraps a security infrasturcture that enables both

    • secure communication: authenticated, confidential, integer exchange of messages
    • access control on distributedly stored data: The user can define access rules for every document he stores in the network. These access rights are enforced by Lifesocial. Further, the information is stored on no server, no provider can access it, just the users privileged for access.

Monitored and managed service quality:

  • Although the platform is distributed, the quality provided by it is observable and controlled
  • LifeSocial integrates SkyNet.KOM technology providing a global view on statistics on data retrieval delays, load issues, LifeSocial's bandwidth consumption, and many metrics more
  • Through automated self-configuration, LifeSocial reaches and maintains a desired level of service quality, e.g. a data retrieval delay of below 1sec.
  • In comparison to other distributed online social networks (there very few) this is revolutionary, aiming at a satisfied user and a high-quality experience.

Rich online social networking functionality:

LifeSocial provides as a basis the same functionality as web-based social network: Creating profiles, managing friend lists, creating, joinig and maintaining groups, sharing photos and browsing through pictures of friends and interesting people and searching for people with common interest. In addition, it offers collaboration and communication tool as well a secure data managment.

  • LifeSocial is an extandable, Plugin-based platform ready for a wide set of new Plugins
  • Plugins are OSGI-based allowing for on-demand activation, updates over the LifeSocial network and a Plugin-repository for new Plugins.
  • Overview on the currently implemented Plugins:
Plugins
Functionality
LoginRegistration / login and bootrapping of a security infrastructure
ProfilePresenting a description and image of the user
FriendsA list linking the profiles of the user's friends
MessagingEmail-like inbox, outbox and message composer
PhotoA list of photo albums, linking to user photos
GroupsA list of users joined in a common interest group
TweetsList of status updates of a user and its followers
(Group-)ChatDirect user to user text messaging
File transferSending files from user to user
Tic-Tac-ToeGames for two with spectators: Tic Tac Toe (example)
WhiteboardCollaborative graphical editing of a canvas
CalendarCollaborative time schedule editing and sharing
MulticastCreation of and publishing to multicast groups

Main 3 Publications on LifeSocial

[GPM+08]

Kalman Graffi, Sergey Podrajanski, Patrick Mukherjee, Aleksandra Kovacevic, Ralf Steinmetz:
A Distributed Platform for Multimedia Communities. In: IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia (ISM '08), p. 6, IEEE Computer Society Press, December 2008.

[GMM+09]

Kalman Graffi, Patrick Mukherjee, Burkhard Menges, Daniel Hartung, Aleksandra Kovacevic, Ralf Steinmetz:
Practical Security in P2P-based Social Networks. In: The 34th Annual IEEE Conference on Local Computer Networks (LCN), October 2009

[GPM+08]

Kalman Graffi, Dominik Stingl, Julius Rückert, Aleksandra Kovacevic, Ralf Steinmetz:
Monitoring and Management of Structured Peer-to-Peer Systems  In: The 9th IEEE International Conference on Peer-to-Peer Computing (P2P'09), IEEE Computer Society Press, September 2009.