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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Bram Cohen, 29

Upending the file-sharing world, bit by bit

BitTorrent

Bram Cohens creation, BitTorrent, answers a deceptively simple question: if someone requests a file over a network, and multiple people on the network possess the file, why should only one person send the file in its entirety to the requester? Cohens revolutionary solution: send tiny chunks of the file from multiple users, eliminating the bandwidth crunch that results when a single user sends a large file in its entirety. A 400-megabyte video file that could take hours for a single user to distribute can be broken up into thousands of pieces, each of which takes only a few seconds to send. The impact of the technology that Cohen developed goes far beyond the world of illicit file-swapping: game companies and Linux developers are now experimenting with BitTorrent distribution as well. Cohen is humble about his creation and its potential impact. It is, he says, "just a way to move bits around."

2005 TR35 Winners

Parham Aarabi

Sharpening a computers listening skills

Regina Barzilay

Teaching computers to read and write

Stewart Butterfield

Building communities through photos

George Candea

Protecting software from crashes

Bryan Cantrill

Tracing software in real time

Andy Carvin

Bringing Internet power to the have-nots

Narashima Chari

Setting the mesh networking standard

Bram Cohen

Upending the file-sharing world, bit by bit

Dennis Crowley

Moving online socializing into the streets

Tracey Ho

Scrambling bits for a more efficient Internet

Samuel Madden

Simplifying wireless sensor nets

David Pennock

Predicting the future of markets

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