Decentralized Web

Between 1989 and 2015, the World Wide Web transformed from an esoteric system for publishing technical notes to a basic infrastructure of commerce, learning and social interaction. In the process, the Web has centralized around a few key points of control, owned by large, for-profit, publicly traded companies which have enormous influence on our online interactions. And because so many of our interactions - commercial, interpersonal and civic - are mediated online, we have inadvertently given these companies a great deal of control over our political lives and civic discourse. In collaboration with the Center for Civic Media, we will identify and evaluate the status of structurally decentralized projects in the fields of online publishing, online social networks, and discovery of online content (directory and search). From this work we will launch an experiment in building a structurally decentralized publication system designed to solve a real and relevant problem within academic computing, but more broadly, to offer a proof of concept for one approach to building decentralized social networks and publishing systems.

Research Topics