Lottery trees: motivational deployment of networked systems

John R. Douceur and Thomas Moscibroda


We address a critical deployment issue for network systems, namely motivating people to install and run a distributed service. This work is aimed primarily at peer-to-peer systems, in which the decision and effort to install a service falls to individuals rather than to a central planner. This problem is relevant for bootstrapping systems that rely on the network effect, wherein the benefits are not felt until deployment reaches a significant scale, and also for deploying asymmetric systems, wherein the set of contributors is different than the set of beneficiaries. Our solution is the lottery tree (lottree), a mechanism that probabilistically encourages both participation in the system and also solicitation of new participants. We define the lottree mechanism and formally state seven properties that encourage contribution, solicitation, and fair play. We then present the Pachira lottree scheme, which satisfies five of these seven properties, and we prove this to be a maximal satisfiable subset. Using simulation, we determine optimal parameters for the Pachira lottree scheme, and we determine how to configure a lottree system for achieving various deployment scales based on expected installation effort. We also present extensive sensitivity analyses, which bolster the generality of our conclusions.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inProceedings of the Conference on Computer Communications (SIGCOMM)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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