The Internet Without Servers & URLs Is Possible - In Pursuit Is University of Cambridge

A new kind of Internet that are not dependent upon servers or URLs for browsing and sharing content is possible, according to computer researchers from University of Cambridge. They seem to have laid a foundation to bring about a new transformational architecture that change the way we access the Web.
A EU-Funder project called Pursuit - is a prototype for the same. It is a proof-of concept model that overhauls the existing structure of the internet’s IP layer, through which isolated networks are connected. Dr. Dirk Trossen, a senior researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and the technical manager for the venture behind the technology advance, says the new approach will speed up and simplify access to information on the WWW (World Wide Web).

The Pursuit Internet eliminates the need of accessing information from the servers (a central repository for data). Instead, individual computers would be able to copy and republish content on receipt, providing other users with the option to access data, or fragments of data, from a wide range of locations rather than the source itself. So imagine, peer-to-peer replacing the client-server model on a super wide scale. In order to answer the rapid growth of global demand for internet usage, the Pursuit Internet is a step towards making the internet more efficient and faster. By replacing servers, we also become safe from the havocs of data loss that happen due to server crashes.


Dr Dirk Trossen said: “The current internet architecture is based on the idea that one computer calls another, with packets of information moving between them, from end to end. As users, however, we aren’t interested in the storage location or connecting the endpoints. What we want is the stuff that lives there. Our system focuses on the way in which society itself uses the internet to get hold of that content. It puts information first. One colleague asked me how, using this architecture, you would get to the server. The answer is: you don’t. The only reason we care about web addresses and servers now is because the people who designed the network tell us that we need to. What we are really after is content and information.”

The Pursuit network would be able to map the desired content on to the possible locations at the time of the desired viewing, ultimately providing the user with a list of locations from which that information could be retrieved. The designers of Pursuit hope that, in the future, this is how the internet will work. Technically, online searches would stop looking for URLs (the Uniform Resource Locator) and start looking for URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers). These would be highly specific identifiers which enable the system to work out what the information or content is. Dr Trossen said: “Under our system, if someone near you had already watched that video or show, then in the course of getting it their computer or platform would republish the content. That would enable you to get the content from their network, as well as from the original server. Widely used content that millions of people want would end up being widely diffused across the network. Everyone who has republished the content could give you some, or all of it. So essentially we are taking dedicated servers out of the equation.”

What we are talking about here is a radically new and revolutionary form of looking at the Internet. This new Internet would be sustainable and more open. Their approach proposes to do what BitTorrent does at the level of the current IP infrastructure. Hence, packets in the network do not have location identifiers (i.e., IP addresses) but information identifiers (similar to chunk identifiers in BitTorrent) – and whoever has the packet will deliver it. The benefits of such an Internet are multiple - Ranging from content distribution over improvements to the World Wide Web and collaborative value chains to sensor networks, the new Internet could significantly impact our lives online. Take a look at the following video from the team -

We are eager to know the reactions of engineers here on how this proposed form of the new Internet or The Pursuit for it appeals to your minds.

Source: #-Link-Snipped-#


  • Ambarish Ganesh
    Ambarish Ganesh
    BitTorrent is highly efficient with chunk identifiers, and a huge data is collectively spread over a large computer-base. So if the internet evolves to such a state where URIs score over the URL's it'll only better the end user's experience.

    And terminating dedicated servers totally would be other great win. No website would ever be down. 😀 Let's see how this turns out to be.
  • Ankita Katdare
    Ankita Katdare
    Check out the promotion video from our PURSUIT summer school -

    Here is a fact sheet about PURSUIT - Publish Subscribe Internet Technology.
    The project applies the information-centric view on networking, focusing on WHAT is being exchanged rather than who are exchanging it or where it is.
    See the following PDF -


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