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.

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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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