torrent

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torrent

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

torrent

This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

BitTorrent

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.

Torrents
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 www.bittorrent.com.

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 classic literature ?
They precisely resemble in composition the matter which the torrents in each valley would deposit, if they were checked in their course by any cause, such as entering a lake or arm of the sea; but the torrents, instead of depositing matter, are now steadily at work wearing away both the solid rock and these alluvial deposits, along the whole line of every main valley and side valley.
But, on the other hand, when listening to the rattling noise of these torrents, and calling to mind that whole races of animals have passed away from the face of the earth, and that during this whole period, night and day, these stones have gone rattling onwards in their course, I have thought to myself, can any mountains, any continent, withstand such waste?
There was no use of interrupting them, for, having taken a particular direction, nothing can moderate and change their course; it is a torrent of living flesh which no dam could contain.
In fact, the Victoria was resuming a more northerly route, and on the morning of the 20th she was passing over an inextricable network of channels, torrents, and streams, in fine, the whole complicated tangle of the Niger's tributaries.
The electric light went out suddenly, and two enormous waterspouts broke over the bridge of the frigate, rushing like a torrent from stem to stern, overthrowing men, and breaking the lashings of the spars.
In another direction were to be seen some of the sources of the Oregon, or Columbia, flowing to the northwest, past those towering landmarks the Three Tetons, and pouring down into the great lava plain; while, almost at the captain's feet, the Green River, or Colorado of the West, set forth on its wandering pilgrimage to the Gulf of California; at first a mere mountain torrent, dashing northward over a crag and precipice, in a succession of cascades, and tumbling into the plain where, expanding into an ample river, it circled away to the south, and after alternately shining out and disappearing in the mazes of the vast landscape, was finally lost in a horizon of mountains.
We could see the streams which fed the torrent we had followed issuing from under the greenish ramparts of glaciers; but two or three of these, instead of flowing over the precipices, sank down into the rock and sprang in big jets out of holes in the mid-face of the walls.
In vain we cleave the torrent's thread with steel, In vain we drink to drown the grief we feel; When man's desire with fate doth war this, this avails alone -- To hoist the sail and let the gale and the waters bear us on.
She discharged a torrent of abuse on the master, and advised her mistress to quit all thoughts of a man who had never shown himself deserving of her.
The night that I have in memory was dark, the creek a torrent, swollen by a recent storm.
It was very dark indeed in the wood, for the lightning was now becoming infrequent, and the hail, which was pouring down in a torrent, fell in columns through the gaps in the heavy foliage.
Soldiers were being swept beneath the boiling torrent, never to rise.