a neat hack - using HTTP servers *as* a distributed computer

Rohit Khare (rohit@bordeaux.ICS.uci.edu)
Thu, 15 Jan 1998 16:36:22 -0800

Unfortunately, I've lost the forwards, but this is indeed an example of
massive overcomplication. I suppose you could try to solve a hamiltonian with
traceroute and IP Record Route, too... RK

> > This is pretty nuts. Doing a distributed computation via the Web, but
> > using the actual HTTP transactions as the computational element.
> >
> >
> > "Distributed Computing on the Web Using HTTP"
> > By Kristina Lerman
> > http://tweedledee.ucsb.edu/~kris/exp/distributed.html
> >
> > Here are some excerpts. The abstract..
> >
> > I demonstrate how one can utilize the World Wide Web to solve problems
> > that may otherwise be insoluble. The demonstration consists of a
> > distributed computing application run on a collection of Web servers
> > using the HTTP protocol for communication. A problem that seems
> > ideally suited for this demonstration is the directed Hamiltonian path
> > problem (a restricted form of the traveling salesperson problem), one
> > of the class of combinatorially hard problems. A Hamiltonian path of a
> > connected graph is a path that includes every node exactly once. It is
> > possible to encode a graph onto a small network of Web servers.
> > Messages passed between them via HTTP requests will accumulate a list
> > of visited nodes along the path. Each server then analyzes the path
> > contained in received messages, and when one finds a completed
> > Hamiltonian path, it will send a message to the destination server.
> >
> >
> > And the algorithm..
> >
> > 1. A message is sent by the designated start node (Web server) to every node
> > (server) connected to it. This message simply contains the name of
> > the server.
> > 2. Each node appends its name to the message and checks that there are
> > no repeated nodes in the message.
> > 3. If there are repeated nodes in the path, the script terminates;
> > otherwise the new path is sent to neighbor nodes in the graph.
> > 4. If the number of nodes in the path is equal to the number of nodes
> > in the graph, the path is a solution to the Hamiltonian path problem.