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a fast, voluminous, or violent stream of water or other liquid
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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A popular protocol for sharing large files over the Internet, developed by Bram Cohen and released in 2001. In addition to Cohen's software, other BitTorrent client programs are available for all major platforms. There is no centralized server. Each downloading user becomes a source for another user who wants the same file. The BitTorrent client balances the load on the computer, because download speeds are faster than upload speeds.

Widely used for transferring pirated movies and software, BitTorrent, along with other file sharing systems, accounted for more than half of Internet traffic after the turn of the century. Since then, however, movie streaming from Netflix, YouTube and other legal sources became extremely popular, and BitTorrent traffic dropped dramatically.

BitTorrent breaks large files into smaller ones. A "torrent" is a file of meta-data that describes the files and the servers that keep track of the BitTorrent peers that have the parts of the file. In practice, a file itself is also called a torrent.

Users Share the Load (Leechers and Seeds)
A "seed" is a BitTorrent client that has the file. A "leecher" is a BitTorrent client in the process of downloading, and a leecher thus becomes a seed for someone else. However, a "leech" refers to people who exit BitTorrent after downloading, thus preventing seeding to others. For more information, visit

File sharing systems have been architected in different ways as outlined in the following illustrations. See peer-to-peer network, Napster and KaZaA.

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References in periodicals archive ?
It would be recalled that torrential rain, which lasted for hours on Friday night had culminated in flood around Gbodofon and Ogo Oluwa areas, just as it caused Osun river overflow its bank.
All the main and inter-city roads presented a stream and lake like views during the torrential rain in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Pasrur, Zafarwal and surrounding areas here.
Meanwhile, fresh flooding and torrential rains have washed away roads and bridges in different parts of the province.
Similarly nine house have been fully damaged while 16 house partially damaged during torrential rains.
At least 15 cities and counties can expect thundershowers or at least torrential rain Saturday afternoon (July 27), the Central Weather Bureau warned.
Euronext wheat futures edged higher on Thursday in step with Chicago prices as worries about the impact of torrential rain on US grain belts continued to drive the market.
The body of one of two persons who got drowned during last Monday's torrential rains in Kumasi has been found, the Ashanti regional National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has confirmed.
The carrier's Kathmandu-Muscat and Bangalore -- Muscat flights were rerouted to Sharjah and Dubai, respectively, as the state was hit by torrential rains, said a report in Times of Oman .
PESHAWAR -- Parliamentary leader of ANP in KP Assembly Sardar Hussain Babak has expressed grief and shock over the recent damages to life and property in the wake of recent flash floods and torrential rains in the province.
Snowfall hit major parts of Balochistan, including the provincial capital, on March 2, while two people reportedly died in Dalbandin and Pishin due to the torrential rains and flash floods.
QUETTA -- In Balochistan, emergency has been declared and Army called-in in district Lasbela after flash flooding caused by torrential rains in the area.
"My biggest concern is that the steep hill we are on turns to mush as we have had torrential downpour for two days," Keith said.