What is NICE ?
NICE is a recursive acronym that stands for NICE is the Internet Cooperative Environment.

NICE is a cooperative framework for scalably implementing distributed applications over the Internet. Applications in NICE are cooperative: they devote a part of their own resources to be used by any member of a cooperative group. We have designed a set of protocols and mechanisms that address different aspects of implementing such cooperative applications. The mechanisms in NICE do not depend on any special network support.

The overall goal of NICE is to show that cooperative applications can achieve overall better performance than applications that do not cooperate. We have developed a set of protocols for application-layer multicast, application-layer distance estimation, and secure multicast within the NICE framework. The NICE secure multicast and the application-layer multicast protocols, in some cases achieve orders of magnitude performance improvements because of the cooperative nature of the protocols.

Clearly, for a system like NICE to be successful, there must be some incentive to cooperate, and we must ensure that malicious hosts do not get the benefits of cooperation without contributing to the group. Further, security and privacy is of paramount concern, because in many NICE sub-protocols, data may visit and be transformed other end-systems before it reaches its ultimate destination. All these problems form our current research: we are working on incentive-based cooperation policies, on mechanisms to scalably check and enforce partnerships, and on protocols to ensure privacy and integrity.



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