Rachel Shadoan Muses

Conceptualizing Decentralized Systems with Grilled Cheese

A grilled cheese sandwich on a wooden cutting board, next to a knife. Creative Commons image by Mack Male on Flickr.

A system for dividing a grilled cheese sandwich could be implemented in a centralized or decentralized fashion. Image by Mack Male, used in accordance with the Creative Commons license.

There’s a new post up on the Akashic Labs blog today, describing a metaphor we found helpful for conceptualizing the difference between centralized and decentralized systems.

Let’s say there’s a grilled cheese sandwich that needs to be divided between two hungry kids.

In a centralized system, a babysitter cuts the sandwich in half and distributes a half to each kid. The babysitter acts as an authority, arbitrating the resource allocation between the two kids.

In a decentralized system, the kids play a round of Rock Paper Scissors. The winner of the round of Rock Paper Scissors divides the sandwich; the loser gets to choose which half of the sandwich they want. The system has no central authority; it provides a framework for the users to negotiate use amongst themselves.

Head on over for the full post.

One comment on “Conceptualizing Decentralized Systems with Grilled Cheese

  1. Bettie
    February 2, 2015

    You my darling are amazing.

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2015 by in Uncategorized.


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