Hello, everyone! My name is Julien Quintard. I received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge in 2010, where I wrote my thesis on a worldwide storage infrastructure.

Now, I'm the CEO of Infinit, a Paris-based tech startup that's created the world's fastest file transfer application. We did that by making our transfers peer-to-peer, with no server involved.

Ask me anything!

http://www.infinit.io http://www.twitter.com/infinitdotio

EDIT: Thanks a lot to everyone for the great questions. Hope you got as much of it as I did. See you soon.

Comments: 260 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

miles920159 karma

...Pied Piper?

mycure24 karma

Interestingly, we got this feedback a lot but do not exactly understand why people compare us to Pied Piper :)

mycure15 karma

Thanks for the details guys :) Indeed, we know it comes from Silicon Valley. We just didn't get the comparison between compression and file transfer.

To be honest, I have not watched it yet. Waiting for all the episodes to come out.

Newkd3 karma

Season 1 finale already came out.

mycure7 karma

Good to know. Now that Techstars is over, I'm going to spend some time on it then :)

Dolphinmx14 karma

Any love for linux users...any time soon?

mycure11 karma

Soon. My guys are reading now :) I'm sure they'll notice. It's coming! Both through command-line tools and a GUI (which is actually already working).

Which one would you like more: command-line tools or GUI?

mycure5 karma

Thanks guys for the comments. Duly noted! :)

albmin8 karma

Does P=NP?

mycure10 karma

Ask Grigori Perelman. I am being told he has nothing to do these days :)

rocksolidmain7 karma


mycure16 karma

Wow, interesting though broad first question. I'd say that in the future everything will be about computer science: how we regulate traffic, how we optimize the energy consumption of buildings or even how we program living organisms to perform a specific task being heal your body or sanitize water. One cannot even imagine the possibilities even though some companies have the vision to go always further, the Google, SpaceX, Tesla etc.

In the future every child will know how to code. Not knowing how to code in the 21st century is basically the same as not knowing how to read in the 20th.

DJSundog21 karma

As a programmer myself, I agree that being able to create software is handy. More handy every day.

But it's 2014 and every child in the U.S. cannot read by the time they are 18. I don't think they'll all learn to write code by the end of the century - I think it's far more likely they'll have no need to write code at all. How many of our colleagues can design a modern microprocessor? That's arguably as important to the Information Age as the software that runs on it, yet even in that field we have specialized tools that prevent most people from working at that low of a level.

That said, thanks for the AMA and best of luck on the future of your software. I'll definitely keep an eye out.

mycure5 karma

Interesting indeed. Thanks for your thought.

thefloatingboat3 karma

Yeah I have to disagree, not every child will know how to code nor need to. It would be a waste of energy when some are more productive doing other things in society.

Question though: startup life is extremely tough, at least in the US. Long long hours. How was the transition from academic to founder for you? Seems like a road less traveled.

mycure3 karma

Every child will not code but may know how to, at least, on the surface. Anyway, we'll see :)

Very interesting question. I actually plan on writing a series about that, especially on how to become a CEO with a technical background. I would not be able to tell you everything but you are free to ask precise questions if you feel like it. All I can say right now is that the most impactful decision has been to stop coding. It took me a year to do so. The company was in a bad shape. I re-focused on the business strategy (positioning, competition, added-value etc.) and stopped coding (kind of :D).

Zymrael6 karma

Hey there

I visited your website and Infinit seems pretty awesome. But I'm asking myself how you're going to earn money with it? Is there like a premium service or something that generates money?

mycure11 karma

Good question :) We could indeed provide advanced features, especially to businesses such as an LDAP integration, company-specific search, branded webpage for downloading etc.

But this is not the focus right now!

hahze4 karma


mycure6 karma

We could do it but it is unlikely. This business is not so much about the technology or product, it is more about getting the right certification and knowing the right people in the business.

I completely understand the need but that is not the company we want to create. We want everyone to be able to share any file of any size in any context across any operating system or device.

mike_sol4 karma

A lot of businesses are looking for something that would work as a Dropbox replacement for their users while still keeping data on corporate servers and under governance. Any thoughts about offering something in that direction?

mycure2 karma

That's something we indeed plan on doing :)

mycure9 karma

Besides, given that the peer-to-peer aspect does not cost us anything, it will be forever free.

spacebrony6 karma

Can't read up on your protocol right now, but most p2p file transfers seem to have at least SOME centralization, if only to serve as a springboard to give a table of clients to connect to.

Like a DHT that is first passed to you by a central server but then becomes self growing.

How do you deal with that?

(If I am entirely wrong about any of this, sorry! I'm just pursuing a degree in cs, I know only what I've studied so far and nothing about the cool stuff you do!)

mycure5 karma

You are completely right! :)

Infinit as a file sharing application is not decentralized. Only the data transfers occur in peer-to-peer. The rest is centralized: the accounts with names for the search mechanism to operate for instance. Also, every Infinit client is constantly connected to a server to know which other users are online.

kardos8 karma

So how is this different than the send file feature that IRC/ICQ/MSN, etc, has had for .... decades?

mycure6 karma

It is different because the systems you are referring to were server-based. Meaning that the file would be uploaded on a server, and then downloaded by a client.

In the case of Infinit, we use a peer-to-peer technology connected both the sender and recipient directly. This allows for faster transfer. Twice faster over the Internet. Up to 30 times faster if you share the same Wifi.

In addition, Infinit is really easy to use. Just drag & drop the files and folder you want to send. Select a contact. And click 'Send'. That's it. No matter the type, size or connectivity you have, the files will be delivered.

triskeles14 karma

The DCC SEND capability of IRC was never (to my knowledge) server-based. The IRC server only facilitated the exchange of client IP addresss and port numbers for the file exchange.

mycure3 karma

Oh it is possible. I have no knowledge of that protocol. My bad if it is in peer-to-peer indeed.

In any case, IRC clients cannot be used by everybody. My mother is not going to use IRC to send files.

It is not because one can perform a task in a way that there is no easier way to do it. When you think about it, Dropbox is nothing more that a sync software between a server and a client. Nothing fancy. Still, 300M users needed it because they didn't know how to do it and just didn't want to bother and prefer to pay for the service.

NorbitGorbit5 karma

how is paris logistically for locating a startup -- are there any other EU countries that you might have considered for tax/cost-of-living reasons?

mycure4 karma

Thanks for this question.

First, Paris is a great city to live in :) Not to offend anyone, but I would personally rather live in Paris rather than New York, Cambridge, London or Berlin.

Now Parisian are dicks, complain about everything all the time while not really wanting things to change :) Or at least not wanted to do the necessary to make things change.

In other words, we are far from having the American spirit. But this is what makes Paris different from New York, and the US a great country to start a business.

Paris as an ecosystem for startup is basically 5 years behind New York. Things are moving quickly. When we started Infinit with my co-founder, there was no seed investment and only one accelerator in the whole country, that we actually ended up attending. It was a great thing for us because we knew nothing of entrepreneurship.

Now, VCs invest in startups with no revenue. There are something like 10 accelerators in Paris. The tech scene is moving fast with Romain Dillet, a French Techcrunch writer moving back from NYC to Paris to cover the French scene.

France does not have the entrepreneurship you would find in the US, mostly for historic reasons. In France, we don't really like rich people. And to the public, a CEO is a CEO, being the CEO of Total, Orange or Infinit is basically the same. A bold greedy old (yes I'm no longer in my twenties) man so rich he does not even know the price of a baguette :)

But France is also great for starting a company. In France, if you worked before, you can get two years of salary out of the government to start you company. Most startups are started this way actually.

In addition, you can get many grants from Scientipole, AIMA, PIA etc. and tax deduction if you innovate and/or do some research (JEI, Concours National etc.). In the case of Infinit, we received a loan of 40k euros from Scientipole plus several grants and won the national research contest.

Also, engineers in France a very very very good and quite cheap compared to the US since there is not the same competition; less startups.

It is possible that you may get more tax than in the US when you exit, but if you create a company for the money you going to get in the end, you may drive yourself crazy along the way given the energy it takes. If you don't do it for the passion, don't do it at all!

To conclude, France may not be the best country to start a company, but I believe it is pretty good. An the community is growing while good companies have paved the way: Criteo, Deezer, Dailymotion etc.

sun_butt4 karma

How secure is it? Could you send extremely high risk Intellectual properties over this P2P network without risk of it being compromised?

What are the benefits of transferring files P2P instead of over a server?

What do you do about piracy?

What do you do about privacy?

Is it actually P2P or do you just say it is for a selling point into the "Decentralized" market

mycure3 karma

Yes you can send extremely sensitive things over Infinit because everything is encrypted with a key known to the sender and recipient only.

!WARNING! However, if you are sending to a non-Infinit user, an email will be sent to the recipient, asking him/her to install Infinit or download the file from the Cloud. In this case, the file will have been hosted in the Cloud. We rely on Amazon for the security of their infrastructure.

P2P is faster (between 2 and 30 times) because we transfer following a straight line between the sender and recipient.

Piracy when it comes to the content being shared? Well we don't know what users are sharing. It is not our problem. What you do in your private space has nothing to do with us. We do not want to know.

Every file being transferred is encrypted with a key known to the sender and recipient only.

Yes it is P2P. I don't understand the 'selling point for decentralized market' though.

shekkys3 karma

Why do we need something like this when we have FTP? and for those worried about their data, SCP?

Is this just a ease of use application, making it easily available to anyone to transfer files ? more so than it is already, I guess.

Why not just build some kind of front end on top of ftp/scp .. whats the difference really?

mycure2 karma

Well one could build something on top of FTP/SCP but you're not going to have the same control as building it yourself.

Also, FTP needs to store the files before the recipient can retrieve them. Infinit bypasses this step by using a peer-to-peer protocol: connecting both the sender and recipient directly.

You could think that you can use SCP to send files from the sender to the recipient but SCP does not traverse the NATs:


In other words, it may seem simple but it really is not. Handling all the use cases (send files and folders), to anyone (Infinit user or not), not matter the connectivity (disconnections, close your computer), and the fact that your want to do it in peer-to-peer to ensure security and speed is easier said than done.

ubomw3 karma

Bonsoir Julien,

How is it going at Gandi Labs, how long can you stay? Cool neighbors?

mycure2 karma

No idea how long we'll stay :) But yes Gandi is awesome and our neighbours as well... ;D

wokeupsleepy2 karma

In a nutshell, what makes your P2P transfer different from torrenting?

mycure2 karma

Infinit is not about distribution of popular content. We just transfer files from one machine to another. It can be less efficient if the sender has a poor upload bandwidth but it really is not the goal. It's just a different service.

iSecks1 karma

mycure's explanation is like, super nutshell. If you want a bit more info check my reply to ButtPuppett here.

mycure2 karma

Thanks :)

hahze2 karma


mycure3 karma

Successful entrepreneurs tend to say that they see the world with particular eyes. That they always see what's wrong to then want to fix it.

I don't know if I am a good entrepreneur but, being French, and being me, I complain a lot, about everything. And everybody that knows me, knows it :)

Currently I am in NYC, and I can't help but complain about the public transportation system: you don't even know how much time you have to wait for the next train to arrive. This is retarded in 2014. Now I understand that the subway is probably not the priority in NYC ;)

When you think about it, you can notice 10 things every day that could be improved. Now that does not make a business. You need to something which is so painful that a large enough number of people will pay for it. And that's it :)

hahze2 karma


mycure1 karma

Not on every line unfortunately :)

But this is just an example. My point is that you can see things being wrong every day.

ninjasoar2 karma

Hi Julien, thanks for doing this AMA. The product looks top class, UX wise you just nailed it. Are you with a co-founder? Are you more of product guy, business guy or you wear both hats at infinit.io

Funding aside, how significant would you say techstars was to get your company up and running? And lastly are you looking to get acquired 3-4 years down the line? Please dont get acquired to google.

mycure2 karma

I created the company with a co-founder, a friend of mine back when we were teenager. I saw in him competencies I didn't have at the time (at all) and still lack.

At first, I was more on the technical side but today I'm more about the business, vision, fund raising. It is truly different but you learn to be satisfied differently as well. I have completely let go of the technical stuff for our CTO who is far more equipped than I am to handle everything.

Techstars has been extremely valuable to us in terms of network, especially because we're French and didn't have any network in the US. Meeting HBO was just an email away when it would have been a pain in the ass before. Also, we've met so many great people from other startups to Techstars folks, hackstars and associates. These guys were great. And at the end of the day, it really is a people business.

We have a vision to go further than file sharing. We don't want to get acquired and would like to create a unique company that reconciles technology and design but also that put privacy back into the hands of the users.

We want to create a business, hence make money. But we'd like to do it the right way: by providing value, rather than exploit people's lives.

142Staircases2 karma

Are there any companies you would allow to purchase your company? If so, which company, and how much would you want?

I know some people would turn down over a million dollars if they believe in their idea.

mycure2 karma

My way of seeing things, and my employees know about it is that we have about 18 months in front of us. If by that time, we have not reach our goals, then we have too choices: sell the company or raise more money.

Given that we have not reached our goals, raising more capital is complicated. If I feel that it's not going to be possible, then I'll consider selling the company.

But I would consider this kind of a failure. The whole company is behind me because of our vision (of course they can say something if they disagree with that :D). We will consider Infinit a success when we'll have provided the world with what we wanted to create.

142Staircases1 karma

Good answer. Are there any companies you'd prefer to 'sell out' to?

mycure1 karma

I haven't thought about it. No idea sorry!

iSecks2 karma

Could you give us a bit more info about the app itself? I can't find much other than what's on your website, but that's pretty basic.

For example: How do the clients connect to each other? Do they connect directly if someone is on your friends list or does the connection always go through Infinit's servers before initiating the P2P connection? I assume that's the case when links are generated, but I'm not sure from your site. How does the transfer work when the other party doesn't have the app installed? Can anyone access the file if they have the link to it, or is it protected somehow (password)? Can you un-link a file after it is downloaded, or have an option to remove the link after the transfer completes?

As much as I love the site, and how the app looks from the screenshot, there isn't too much information about the app itself. Perhaps have someone put an FAQ page?

Thanks for reading! Infinit definitely sounds like it's going to make file transfers so much easier.

EDIT: Forgot a word.

Also did a bit of searching through the blog, I saw a few things I didn't really like. For link sharing, this seems to work like the majority of file sharing sites with desktop clients (upload to server -> share server link.) Can you delete files from the server, and when that's done are they gone gone or just the link? Also, are the files encrypted on the server and decrypted on download (perhaps via password)? That would be a nice option, provided the encryption is secure enough that Infinit couldn't actually see the files (like Megaupload.) And is there a way to disable the "cloud buffering"? If I want to send a file to someone I'd rather have the app wait for the user to actually connect to me than send my file or parts of it to your severs.

Both of those things kinda make the end to end encryption useless.

mycure1 karma

All good and fair questions.

We have servers to keep track of the user accounts and transfers going on.

When one wants to send a file to someone else, we provide the information on the recipient's computer (IP address) to the sender for them to connect directly. From that point everything is in peer-to-peer.

For the links, everything is stored in the Cloud. We could password-protect the file but to be honest it would give the impression of security where there really is none. We would either have to make the process more complicated by requesting the password from the recipient and decrypting the file in Javascript. While some may be interested, most users would find it unnecessary.

For now, you cannot un-link the files from the Cloud but this has been a feature requested a lot. We will be adding it in the next release for sure.

Please do not hesitate to ask for more details.

kardos1 karma

One of the biggest problems with peer to peer in the past (MSN, etc) is firewalls. Have you guys found a way to make it work when there are no open ports, that is, both clients "firewalled"?

mycure2 karma

Yes, there are several ways. Protocols are now seeing the light to open ports such as uPnP. If you can't do that, there are several ways to punch the firewalls to force the connection between the peers:


Now if nothing works, the traffic can be relayed through a server for instance to make sure both computers can communicate.

kardos1 karma

Cool, sounds like this will be robust. I appreciate the reply!

mycure2 karma

Thanks to you.

Gwayloom2 karma

Whats your weissman score?

mycure1 karma

Hehe :) We actually don't compress data!

reelingmadness2 karma

I've read a lot about what you've done and I've looked at your Thesis. What made you choose that particular topic for your thesis and how did it become the springboard to Infinit.io?

mycure8 karma

My (educational) path is quite complicated. I started with security by hacking websites etc. Then realizing security was a lot about system and how the processor interprets instructions in a particular security framework, I moved on to studying low-level programming and operating system internals, especially micro-kernels which designs I loved.

With a friend, we created an educational project at the time to allow our fellow students to learn about kernels by writing their own: http://kaneton.opaak.org/

Then, I read Distributed Operating Systems from Tanenbaum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_S._Tanenbaum) and it changed my world :)

I started studying distributed operating system and changed to study distributed systems and applications rather than system and security. During my masters, I had the chance to worked on a peer-to-peer file system. That again changed my life because it felt so natural to consider resources this way and make various computers work together to achieve something great.

I therefore went to Cambridge for my PhD. Given that I am very stubborn, I basically told my (very understanding) supervisor (Jean Bacon) that I basically did not give a shit about anything else but peer-to-peer file systems. I've been lucky enough to be let alone on this subject.

After 3 years however, I realized to writing papers was not my thing. With my engineering background, what drives me is to create things that people can use, as in the kaneton educational microkernel project.

Thus, I became an entrepreneur. The first idea was to actually leverage my research on peer-to-peer file systems. That's what we did for a year. But in France, at the time, it was impossible to raise money for such a long-term vision. We all decided to concentrate on a simpler problem by using our technology and perhaps come back to the vision along the path.

This is how we ended up designing an easy-to-use and super fast peer-to-peer file transfer application.

PS: sorry for the long answer to a short question :)

minorgoon3 karma

How did you graduate without submitting a single publication to a peer-reviewed journal?

mycure3 karma

Hehe, you've done your homework.

I started working on a publication half way through my PhD. But I've been told that without any measurement I would not be able to publish.

This led to me questioning the whole concept of journals. That is something I don't like in academia. Something that is completely broken from my point of view. But things a changing with arXiv and many others. A fellow company at Techstars, StandardAnalytics (http://www.standardanalytics.io) is contributing to making research reproducible, something I believe also needs to change.

Anyway, after this I decided not to publish because I was again the concept of having private companies make money out of the research created by public institutions, with the participations of young researchers across the world seeking recognition.

Fortunately for me, you don't have to publish in the UK to get your PhD. This is not the case in France, maybe not in the US.

At the end of my PhD, I considered my whole thesis as being the publication people should read if they are interested. The fact that I didn't want to pursue a career in academia also helped. I would have been forced to publish otherwise to get a post-doc position for instance.

reelingmadness1 karma

Thanks Julien. Answer is perfect, don't mind long. That gives us all great context into the passion, creativity and thought behind what Infinit is and it makes more sense now. The product design and execution is spot on and was interested into the story behind it all.. - Ross.

mycure1 karma

Thanks to you Ross, it was a great question.

Subs-man2 karma

Hello Julien, Thanks for doing this AMA, I'm really into Computers & Computer Science sounds very appealing, How does your P2P file-transfer system differ from other relatively fast peer to peer networks that offer similar facilities?

Also What got you interested in Computers/Computer Science?

Thanks again!

mycure4 karma

Most peer-to-peer systems are all about distributing one popular piece of information (Game of Thrones S01E01 for instance) to many users across the globe. This is the case of Bittorrent.

In the case of Infinit, it's not so much about popular content but more about a relevant use case: sending personal files to someone I know.

Our technology, while being very similar to Bittorrent's, is used differently but simply connecting two computers (the sender and the recipient) to transfer the files in a private context.

When I started computer science, it was all about hacking. Quite a cliche but it's true :) I just though these guys were cool but I also wanted to understand how things worked and how some very special people could make an art out of such a scientific field. Obviously I first got interested in computers with games on my 486 DX 50Mhz and then I started writing small software, driving my dad crazy BTW.

pradeep231 karma

Computers along with Internet and softwares are changing our world faster than we can imagine. Just 20 years ago none of the Big names were known or existed. What big changes do you see in next 20 yrs or so? How would Internet and software evolve? And what about OS? Will we have some sort of global Distributed operating system?

mycure2 karma

Very difficult question. What I personally see (or would like to see) coming is the fusion of bio and computer science. It may not come in 20 years though.

In 20 years, I see Facebook dying. Their brand is so weak. Google may have a problem as well to acquire the younger generations that use mobile devices and do not really use email.

Everything is shifting. It is really strange. I am already too old to get it :)

For the operating system, I think Google with its Chrome Book has the right vision. It was just too early. Everything is moving to the browser even though today the technology is really not mature enough. This is why Infinit has been created as a desktop application: it allows us to do far more that the Box, WeTransfer and YouSendIt. Apple is moving this way as well by merging its development platforms on desktop and mobile.

I didn't believe in the disappearance of the desktop. But a software merge seems more probable to then get rid of the desktop as it is today.

It will however take a lot of time for the businesses to switch.

pibby_1 karma

Love infinit! Who comes up with the ideas for the videos you all make? What is the most common quoted TV show or movie around the office?

mycure2 karma

Antony is right, La Cite de la Peur is a reference, especially between the two of us :)

We have so many TV shows and movies that we consider cult that we can't even start naming them. I will give you this because people say I look like Sasha Baron Cohen:




ForQuestions11 karma

How was the transition from grad school to the position you're in now? Was this always the plan for you, or were you inspired by discoveries you made in grade school?

mycure1 karma

No plan. I just knew that research was not for me. Even though I did a masters in research in parallel from my engineering school just to be able to enroll in a PhD :) I guess I had to see it for myself. I did and I left the academia.

What happened is that during my PhD, I have been invited to the Ignite programme organized by the Judge and Business School in Cambridge. It was something like 5000 pounds to attend but free to students with an EPSRC grant, which I had.

I went there and discovered a new world. It was very difficult at first because my head was so deep up my ass, thinking about tiny problems about how to overcome Eclipse attacks in a large-scale Byzantine peer-to-peer network. Within a week, I learned to let go of all the details and think about the big picture: the added-value, to customers, the monetization etc. It was a business crash course in a way.

I still knew very little of the startup world and had no co-founder at the time. Still I decided that I wanted to make my idea a reality and creating a company was the right way to do it.

All foolish decisions to be honest, but I suppose that this is what distinguishes an entrepreneur who is ready to risk everything without knowing anything while a more reasonable mind will just stand and wait in a more comfortable zone.

Akutalji1 karma

Hey Julien! Morgan here with a question:

How important is it to have a Computer Science degree of any kind nowadays, and how important will it be for the future?

Kinda broad question, but curious to what a man in the field thinks.

mycure2 karma

Anyone can create a startup nowadays, and sell it for $19 billion. The technologies used today from the Web to Mobile are easy enough for non-computer-scientists to use them, which is great, it fosters innovation.

However, having a computer science degree with a more in-depth understanding of how computers work from microprocessors, to storage, to memory, to operating systems, to file systems etc. is required if you want to radically change a field. Many companies innovate in terms of real technology. The Xen hypervisor that came of of my research group in Cambridge, revolutionize virtual machines, allowing Amazon and others to make billion of dollars. Without Xen however, it would not have been possible. Xen was bought by Citrix for only $500M.

In other words, a computer science degree is required if you want to innovate in computer science. If you want to create a new mobile chat app, a computer science degree is not going to help you a lot I suppose.

MuffinShit1 karma

What kind of legal issues are you anticipating? For example let's say a user tries to send some data deemed illegal. By the nature of the protocol doesn't this mean that other users on the network could potentially be deemed liable in the same fashion as the original user for hosting parts of the data if not full copies?

mycure2 karma

No the other users are not involved in the process of sending a file to someone.

It is the case with Bittorrent but not with Infinit because we take the file from the sender's computer and send it to the recipient directly without going through the Cloud or using another user's computer.

ItsNotOkToHit1 karma

Hi, thanks for doing an AMA.

My partner is starting her PhD at Cambridge soon, so I'm asking on behalf of her.

Do you any tips or advice for making the most out of the experience, or anything that you would recommend doing whilst in and around Camridge? Thanks in advance!

mycure1 karma

Well it depends. I am sure she will use the happy hour at the lab to meet every one. Amazing computer scientists come and go or even still work at the lab. Some of them you will never have the chance to talk to ever again.

Also, there are great companies in Cambridge. It is called the Silicon Fen. There are many groups of entrepreneurs as well. The Ignore programme at the Judge and Business School is something to consider doing if you want to create a startup.

Other than that, the usual stuff, the dinners, May ball and all the Cambridge folklore :)

KnockingLlama1 karma


mycure2 karma

Many computer scientists, actually some of the best, started with degrees in mathematics or physics.

Computer science is not complicated at all to a scientific mind. The only problem is that it takes a lot of time to get good at it.

I will take Fabrice Bellard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabrice_Bellard), a computer scientist unknown to many who has done so many amazing things in his life, including QEMU and won the IOCCC twice. At the time, there was no computer science, but he learned by himself.

In many cases, these physicists or mathematicians learn during the PhDs but there is no rule.

KnockingLlama1 karma


mycure2 karma

No problem. Good luck to you. Don't hesitate to let me know how things are going or if Infinit can be helpful.

Masterfireheart1 karma

How far do you think your product will go? I would love to see something like this default with Windows.

mycure3 karma

Your comment is not something we get but you are absolutely right.

I personally believe Infinit should have been invented by Microsoft or Apple 15 years ago and integrated directly into the operating system.

Sending files is such an obvious task that it is incredible that these operating systems have yet not provided a good utility for it.

We see Infinit becoming the only tool people will every need to share any file of any size in any context across any device.

Then, our vision goes further than that but this is already something quite amazing to achieve.

ubomw1 karma


mycure2 karma

In the past the recipient had the have the software installed. And it had to be a Mac :)

Now, Infinit runs on both Mac and Windows and the recipient does not have to have Infinit installed. When he/she receives an email inviting to install Infinit, the recipient can also download the file directly through a link.

It is true that businesses still send hard disk through mail. Likewise, some people send USB keys. Well these days are over with Infinit. Many post productions studios use Infinit to send 200GB+ files several times a day.

[deleted]1 karma


mycure2 karma

It is NSA proof because no organization can eave drop on the communications given that it is encrypted from sender to recipient with a key know to both parties only.

And for beers, mostly Belgian :)

nmarket1 karma

What do you think will become of portable hard drives, sd cards, etc in the next 20 years?

mycure1 karma

They will probably die the same way the disquette, CD, DVDs and Blue Ray died.

RhynoPup1 karma

What does peer to peer file transferring mean in terms of security? For commercial use, is this a viable replacement for an in-house FTP server or business Box/Dropbox account?

mycure1 karma

Very good question. Indeed, many business rely on an internal FTP-like system. Likewise for in-house email attachments. Unfortunately, such businesses are not well equipped to deal with the increase in storage capacity, in other words, make the system scalable at low costs.

If the business wants to store files, why not. But when all you want is move a file from one computer to another, it sounds stupid to store it somewhere for the recipient to pick up rather than just transfer it. It's less efficient and more costly.

Many businesses are replacing the FTP-based systems and are looking for alternatives. The Cloud can be an alternative if you don't care about security. But in most cases, security is the number one concern.

Infinit is ideal for these environments: the peer-to-peer aspect implies that the files do not leave the network if the transfers are internal. If files leave the network, they are not stored in the Cloud but transferred directly to the recipient's computer. Besides, everything is encrypted with a key known to the sender and recipient only.

Many businesses have been contacting us for that reason. Also, many professionals such as post-productions studios, agencies etc. do not want their files to be stored in the Cloud because of the security concern but also because they do not want to manage their storage capacity; they just want the files to be delivered, that's it.

BashAtTheBeach961 karma

What is your favorite XKCD?

mycure5 karma

My team is telling me to obviously say: http://xkcd.com/949/

duttong1 karma

Would you say Cambridge opens doors? Do people consider you posh?

mycure1 karma

I guess it can. I my case and the case of Infinit, it definitely gave the company a lot of credibility. We won contests and got accepted in programme in large part because of that, especially because in France, Cambridge is even more important that it would be in the UK, at least I guess.

duttong1 karma

thanks very helpful :D good luck in your future

mycure1 karma

You too :)

jpfarre1 karma

Can you start an ISP in the midwest USA? We desperately need to be saved from comcast/time-warner.


mycure1 karma

Hehe, perhaps in another life :) I noticed that the Internet was not great in the US. I think it actually is better in Europe, which was surprising to me.

reelingmadness1 karma

Will you be enjoying a beer and watching the France World Cup Game later?

mycure1 karma

Well, it depends on you guys :) If you let me do it or not! I would not mind a beer, that's for sure!

tehflied1 karma

When did you get the idea of peer to peer file sharing?

mycure1 karma

After a year working on our technology, we felt we were going nowhere because at the time in France, it was too complicated to raise capital.

We decided to use our technology to solve a simpler problem. And when you think about it, sending file to a friend is still a pain in the ass, even in 2014. There are ways to do it, but nothing as convenient as it should be.

Supermansadak1 karma

How can this replace the flash drive or google drive?

mycure1 karma

Infinit is not about storing file, just about sending them to someone else.

Supermansadak1 karma

Question then many people send illegal items one of the main reasons mega upload was investigated how will you make sure people doesn't send illegal downloads.

mycure1 karma

The problem with MegaUpload or even Dropbox is that they store the files. They are therefore responsible hosting them. Likewise for Youtube who has the obligation to remove the copyright content if asked to do so.

In the case of Infinit, the files are not stored but simply transferred from the sender's computer to the recipient's.

We never have access to the content you send and do not want to know what you are doing because we value users' privacy.

RaoulDuke671 karma

Can I have a job?

mycure2 karma

[email protected]

Don't wait too long, I still have 20 people to answer to :D

GorillaCop1 karma

This sounds very interesting! When are you planing it to launch? Will it be available in northern Europe?

mycure1 karma

Infinit is already live on Mac and Windows anywhere in the world. Download it at http://infinit.io

djb855111 karma

What do you think about Google/Facebook attempts to bring wifi to all of Africa using balloons/drones? Humanitarian, or simply trying to increase their own user numbers?

mycure2 karma

I am more sceptic when it comes to Facebook. I know many people do not trust Google. Not that I trust any organization with that much power but I truly believe the founders of Google want to change the world through innovation. Facebook is do not believe however. I am sure many Facebook engineers want to but I have no faith in Facebook as a company.

For the balloons/drones project, it is quite interesting. I haven't read enough on the subject to give an interesting answer. I suppose it is both humanitarian but also to get more people on their services because these users are virgin of the Internet war going on in a way. Getting them to use Google as a search engine is probably key to Google indeed.

sanguisbibemus1 karma

Any way in the program to tell how fast these uploads are going after they're initiated?

mycure1 karma

Hum we only display the time remaining. We may change that in the future though.

sanguisbibemus1 karma

Ah, never mind, I'm good now. I just used the stats in Task Manager.

mycure1 karma

That works too :)

aifrantz1 karma

Hi. I am now studying BSc. Biotechnology. I have a keen interest on Computer Science and I think I can do more with IT instead of learning all those biotech stuffs (mainly because doing experiments with computer gives me faster feedbacks rather than waiting a bacterial culture to grow overnight).

If I were to take computer science as my Master or Ph.D, what kind of advice you have for me?

Why Master/Ph.D in computer science? Because there's someone told me don't become a scientist.

mycure2 karma

I would advise anything not to do a PhD because you are good at school and it seems like the logical next step! A PhD is hard, you are alone, working on something so tiny that only 20 people in the world can understand.

Now moving on to computer science. As I have explained earlier, I believe computer science is the future BUT bioinformatics is also something that is going to change the world I believe. Knowing both worlds may be extremely valuable.

Sorry if I am not giving you a straight answer but it is your life. You have to figure out what's best for you and what feels right. Find your passion and follow it.

aifrantz1 karma

Thanks for the reply. I do appreciate it.

I've keeping tabs on bioinformatics and big data science too. Thanks to this article for giving me an early exposure about it.

You may be right. I would go with "to bring the both halves to a greater one".

mycure1 karma

Good luck then :) You have a lot ahead of you. As long as you are doing what you like, everything will be just perfect!

thefreeandeasy1 karma

Do you think doing a computer science degree is more or less useful than doing a degree such as Law, Economics, Physics etc and just learning to code?

mycure2 karma

I would not see it like that. Just do what you love. If you are thinking about switching, it may be because Law and Economics are not was makes you get up in the morning.

For me, it's all about working with 7 other guys and having the time of our live without even realizing it :)

ctz991 karma

How does your end-to-end encryption work? Do you have a publicly available design and protocol spec?

mycure1 karma

We have nothing available. I truly apologize for that but we are lacking the time. Always trying to make the company survive. We will try to write more about our infrastructure in the future.

Basically how it works is that when a user signs up, a RSA public/private key pair is generated for the user. The public key is kept on our server while the private key is kept on the user's machine.

When you send a file to Bob, we generate a temporary session symmetrical key. Bob connects to your computer, is challenged to make sure he his Bob (by encrypting something with his public key and asking him to return the result). Then, the session key is sent to Bob for him to be able to decrypt the data that is about to be transferred.

Every block of the file to be sent is encrypted with the session key that only Bob has. Bob decrypts the blocks on the other side, reconstruct the file. When the transfer is over, the session key is destroyed and that is it.

SpeedWeasel1 karma

Is there an upper limit on the number of people each file can be shared with? How do you plan to deal with people who share copyrighted content using your site?

mycure1 karma

I don't think there is a limit on the number of people you share with. Or if there is a limit, it is hard coded but there is no reason we could not increase it. What are you looking for exactly?

For the copyright material, we have designed Infinit for governments, ISPs etc. not to be able to ask anything of us. We do not know what you are sharing and we do not want to know.

It is your data, your life. Not ours.

Thus, unlike Youtube who has to remove copyright content from the platform because they can, we cannot stop you from sharing what you want because we have no control.

chucklesMtheThird1 karma

Telecom engineer here, so no need to go easy on the answer...

How do you propose to 'seed' the personal point-to-point file in your transfer into a swarm of pc's to utilise the benefits of multiple sessions?

Where is the benefit of doing this with a single uplink speed from the sender to the swarm vs just sending it once from the sender to begin with?

Surely the limited uplink pipe is your bottleneck in the transfer, and splitting the file up to a swarm would yield no appreciable benefits?

If this is not your intention, and I have misunderstood...then how does this service improve over something like tftp?

Apologies if I have missed some crucial documentation, sounds interesting.

mycure1 karma

We don't use the upload bandwidth of multiple computers as in Bittorrent, not for a one-to-one transfer at least. We just connect the sender and recipient and transfer the file. Hope I didn't misunderstood the question though.

We send it once from the sender to the recipient. No swarm involved.

Exactly, this is why in a one-to-one scenario, there is no benefit in relying on a swarm.

We simply connect both computers, leading to transfer speeds at least twice faster than existing Cloud-based solutions but up to 30 times faster if both the sender and recipient computers share the same Wifi for instance.

seb56661 karma

Thank you for this AMA! I am starting the Computer Science undergraduate course in Cambridge in October! Do you have any special advice??

mycure2 karma

To be honest I don't. Make the most of your time, do not just listen and wait but be proactive. Code, code and code. Invent stuff. Go to the end, package, document for people to use it.

I have found that many computer science students learn something by coding it, then move on to something else. That allows them to learn a lot. But at the end of the day they have produced nothing.

To get me wrong, it's a great way to learn, more than just reading books because in many cases, building it yourself will teach you so much more.

However, I discovered later that I had a different approach. I liked to learn something to then produce something. For instance, I learned about b+trees and I learned about macro programming when I was a young CS student. I decided to create something crazy that took my weeks: a set of macros to easily build b+trees in C (https://github.com/mycure/bpt/blob/master/bpt.h). This is the equivalent of templates in C++. I didn't just made it and moved to something else, but I tested it thoroughly, measured the speed, documented it and now some companies are using it, such as Scality (http://www.scality.com/).

Anyway, my advice would be, do not wait for people to teach you. Learn by yourself, even though you're in a great school.

seb56661 karma

Thank you very much :) Wish you all the best!!!

mycure1 karma

Same thing :)

sabana_1 karma

Any advice for someone whose just finished their 1st year of BSc CS?

mycure2 karma

Same answer as seb5666: code, code and code to always learn :)

masturbatingmonkeys1 karma

What's the coolest thing you've done this year? Both professionally and personally.

mycure3 karma

Though question given that I do not code anymore. I closed $1.8M. That took some time, especially because we had to create a company in the US for Techstars.

However, I think that personally, I enjoyed working on our own analytics platform. It allows us to analyze all the events we collect from the thousands Infinit users to better understand what is going on. No worries, everything is anonymous though :)

PS: great nickname BTW :)

masturbatingmonkeys1 karma

Thanks! Is that synonymous to: "You're hired?"

mycure2 karma

You would still need to pass the exam of meeting the team which can be quite a challenge given the amount of stupidity in the room :)

terattt1 karma

What do you make of this whole technological singularity idea? Bunch of hubbub over nothing? or does it seem likely to you? Any thoughts on it?

mycure1 karma

What technological singularity idea are you referring to? Our peer-to-peer transfer solution?

Jelvo0 karma

When you were at Cambridge, did you see a lot of dating between Indian men and white women?

mycure1 karma

No idea.