Nocturnal

Nocturnal is a system that provides automated information sharing between Messenger users. Nocturnal uses the Messenger file-sharing feature to facilitate exchanges between a user and her Messenger contacts. Information can propagate to the contacts' contacts, to three-hop contacts, and so on, until any hop-limit set by the user. The information arriving at any user is stored in a local database, along with tags indicating the distance it came from and the path. In this way, Nocturnal builds a social information-sharing infrastructure in a peer-to-peer manner. The current application scenario we have on top of Nocturnal is a collaborative web-search tool. The tool shares URL recommendations among Messenger peers. Collecting URL recommendations is done in either automated mode or manual (or both): For the former, the user may allow automated copying of her `favourites' files and/or browser histories. For the latter, she may voluntarily click a `recommend' button on her browser. A browser enhanced with our coll


Nocturnal provides automated information sharing between Messenger users.

The vision behind the Nocturnal project is to harness the power of social links for sharing information such as recommendations and reviews. The key idea is to leverage the existing messaging network in order to bootstrap the system with natural, automatic social communities. The communities are formed by a user's buddies list, his buddies' buddies and their buddies, and so on. Each social circle shares much in common, without requiring users to subscribe to any new service, eliciting information about users' hobbies and social behavior, etc.

Nocturnal automates information exchange within these social circles using the existing messaging channels. A user Alice exchanges data with her immediate contacts, and stores the information she pulls from them on the local disk. Alice's contacts exchange information with their contacts, and in this way, information from Alice propagates to her contacts' contacts, and on into the network.

In order to address trust concerns, recommendations shared in Nocturnal include an origin and the number of hops they transfer through. A Nocturnal user controls how far in the network to pull information from, usually bounding it to several hops away.

The research component of this project is complete.

Technical Details

Nocturnal uses the Messenger folder-sharing feature to facilitate exchanges between a user and her Messenger contacts. Information can propagate to the contacts' contacts, to three-hop contacts, and so on, until any hop-limit set by the user. The information arriving at any user is stored in a local database, along with tags indicating the distance it came from and the path. In this way, Nocturnal builds a social information-sharing infrastructure in a peer-to-peer manner.

Nocturnal is used for sharing URL recommendations among Messenger peers and form a collaborative web-search tool. Collecting URL recommendations is done in either automated mode or manual (or both): For the former, the user may allow automated copying of her `favorites' files and/or browser histories. For the latter, she may voluntarily click a `recommend' button on her browser.

A browser enhanced with our collaborative-search tool bar uses the local recommendations database to filter MSN-search results and bring URLs recommended by peers to higher importance.

Project Members

Publications

  • P2P Rating
    By Danny Bickson, Dahlia Malkhi and Lidong Zhou.
    7th IEEE International Conference on Peer-to-Peer Computing. PDF
  • Click here for PowerPoint slides that briefly describes Nocturnal.

Press