QLectives (Quality Collectives)

QLectives is a project bringing together top social modelers, peer-to-peer engineers and physicists to design and deploy next generation self-organising socially intelligent information systems.

The project aims to combine three recent trends within information systems:

  • Social networks - in which people link to others over the Internet to gain value and facilitate collaboration (think of Facebook)
  • Peer production - in which people collectively produce informational products and experiences without traditional hierarchies or market incentives (think Wikipedia)
  • Peer-to-Peer systems - in which software clients running on user machines distribute media and other information without a central server or administrative control (think of BitTorrent)

QLectves aims to bring these together to form Quality Collectives, i.e. functional decentralised communities that self-organise and self-maintain for the benefit of the people who comprise them. We aim to generate theory at the social level, design algorithms and deploy prototypes targeted towards two application domains:

  • QMedia - an interactive peer-to-peer media distribution system (including live streaming), providing fully distributed social filtering and recommendation for quality (think of social television 2.0)
  • QScience - a distributed platform for scientists allowing them to locate or form new communities and quality reviewing mechanisms, which are transparent and promote quality (think of Slashdot for any particular discipline or sub-discipline)

The approach of the QLectives project is unique in that it brings together a highly inter-disciplinary team applied to specific real world problems. The aim is to apply a scientific approach to the designs by formulating theories, applying them to real systems and then performing detailed measurements of system and user behaviour to validate or modify the theories if necessary.