SwellRT: Facilitating decentralized real-time collaboration


Monday, September 26, 2016, 11:30am to 1:00pm


MD 119
Samer Hassan, Harvard Berkman Center
Monday, September 26, 2016 -
11:30am to 1:00pm

Maxwell Dworkin 119

The Web 2.0 model, which has become mainstream in current online software platforms, has enabled user-driven participation and collaboration. However, it has also facilitated the emergence of central hubs of information which collect massive amounts of user data, with its multiple negative impacts such as privacy issues, monopolies, surveillance or single legislation. These issues have triggered the emergence of a new wave of decentralized technologies, in both P2P systems (e.g. blockchain, ipfs) and federated systems (e.g. Matrix). And yet, building decentralized software is hard. Development frameworks are built thinking in centralized apps, moreover when thinking of collaborative apps. SwellRT (http://swellrt.org) is a development framework for building decentralized real-time collaborative apps, easily and avoiding extra code to the developer. SwellRT provides a server side (storage, sharing, identity, federation) and an API to build apps in JavaScript, Java or Android. You may think of Google Drive Real-Time API or Firebase but decentralized & open source.

Samer Hassan

Bio:  Samer Hassan (PhD) is an activist and researcher, Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society (Harvard University) and Associate Professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). Currently focused on decentralized collaboration, he has carried out research in decentralized systems, social simulation and artificial intelligence from positions in the University of Surrey (UK) and the American University of Science & Technology (Lebanon). Coming from a multidisciplinary background in Computer Science and Social Sciences, he has more than 45 publications in those fields (H-index=11). Engaged in free/open source projects, he co-founded the Comunes Nonprofit and the Move Commons webtool project. He's an accredited grassroots facilitator and has experience in multiple communities and grassroots initiatives. He's involved as UCM Principal Investigator in the EU-funded P2Pvalue project on building decentralized web-tools for collaborative communities and social movements. His research interests include Commons-based peer production, decentralized architectures, online communities, grassroots social movements & cyberethics. Follow Samer on Twitter: @samerP2P