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Bram Cohen


Bram Cohen

Image © Jacob Appelbaum

Who is Bram Cohen?:

Bram Cohen is the creator of the BitTorrent protocol, a peer to peer file distribution client that makes it possible to swap and share large files with many users at once.

Creation of BitTorrent:

Sharing large files can be quite a tedious affair: downloading a movie file, for example, can take several hours. Cohen envisioned a system by which many users in a network could each hold a piece of a large file, sharing the load and making the process quicker and more efficient. BitTorrent technology was first unveiled at CodeCon in 2002, and people soon realized that it could be used for swapping not only open source software, but movies, music, and other kinds of multimedia files.

How BitTorrent works:

As files are downloaded/uploaded, the BitTorrent protocol puts what users download on tap for other users to upload. When multiple users are downloading the same file at the same time, they are actually uploading pieces of that file to each other, simultaneously. BitTorrent takes each piece of the file users download and plugs that piece into gaps that other users haven't downloaded yet. Instead of one file being downloaded from one source in a linear fashion, BitTorrent takes the approach of "many hands make light work", effectively utilizing the power of the crowd to deliver large files quickly and efficiently.

Bram Cohen:

Bram Cohen is best known as the person behind BitTorrent, a revolutionary technology that made it possible to compress large files and share them with many different people, very quickly. This simple software program is free, with literally millions of users from all over the world utilizing it to upload and download anything from audio books to full-length, first run movies.

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