Peer-to-peer Agent for Reciprocated Search

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Distributed & collaborative

PeARS is a search engine run by all and for all. Data and algorithms are built and shared by the people who will use them. Everybody who browses the Web is a potential contributor.


We want the search engine you use everyday to run efficiently on your laptop. No server farms needed!

Free and Open Source

We are strong supporters of Free Software and Open Source philosophy. Our source code is open and whole-heartedly welcome contributions.


A lightweight, distributed search engine

About PeARS

PeARS (Peer-to-peer Agent for Reciprocated Search) is a lightweight, distributed search engine. It relies on people going about their normal business and browsing the Web. While they do so, the pages they visit are indexed in the background, and assigned a 'meaning' (is this page about cats, fashion, ancient history? what is the 'gist' of the document?) From time to time, they can choose to share some or all of these meanings with others, providing the building stones of a giant search engine network, distributed across users.

Think of PeARS as a layer of virtual agents underlying a community of real people. Your virtual agent is responsible for sharing your Web knowledge in the way you choose, and for contacting other people's agents to help you answer your queries. All completely automatically.

At the moment, PeARS is still under development. We will release a first version of the full software in the Autumn (and hopefully other goodies beforehand!) Stay tuned!

Freedom of search...

A lot of great work is currently being done in favour of the open licensing of data, but one important issue remains left aside: is the process by which we access virtual content open? If tomorrow, the entire Web entered the public domain, would we truly have free access to the world's knowledge? Probably not. Having billions of free documents at our disposal means nothing if we don't own the means to search them. PeARS is a step in ensuring that people will always remain free to access knowledge.


Searching the Web involves sharing very personal and potentially sensitive data about you: what you are doing now, what is on your mind, what you are planning to do, and millions of other things. Currently, this data is centrally stored, processed and re-sold by a few large entities without your control. In contrast, PeARS is built on the principle that people should be able to choose what they share with others. Users have control over what they index on the network. All searches happen locally, on your private machine.

Our Team

We are a varied group of tech enthusiasts, spread across the globe,
who came together to make the world (a.k.a Internet) a better place.

Aurelie Herbelot

Computational linguist

IRC nick: minipa on Freenode

Having worked as a fluffy toy seller, a mortgage adviser and random other things, Aurelie decided that her real vocation was, in fact, computational semantics. In 2010, she received her PhD in Natural Language Processing from the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and has been working in research since then. She is currently based at the Centre for Mind/Brain Sciences at the University of Trento, Italy. Her work focuses on building computer systems which simulate human language understanding.

Behrang QasemiZadeh

Computer Scientist

Behrang is a cliché computer scientist! Currently part of a team of linguists, philosophers, and neurocognitive scientists trying to describe a Barsalou-ian uniform structure of representations. His role is to design and write algorithms to simulate or to provide evidence of theoretical findings. This often involves exploring empirical data-driven distributional methods of natural language processing. One of Behrang’s hobbies is also programming! Other than that, he likes playing with his daughter and watching how she picks up the three languages spoken at home.

Hrishikesh K. B.

Python Hacker

IRC nick: stultus on Freenode

A Pythonista by profession and passion, stultus is addicted to books, coffee, and his computer. As an activist and a social worker, he believes that when you don't like something you say it out loud and if your say is not heard, you act on it. So don't be surprised if you happen to see him on newspapers and other media.

Nandaja Varma

Python Hacker

IRC nick: gem on Freenode

Die hard computer devotee with crazy fetish for kick-boxing, cycling, and above all traveling. Gets paid for writing Free and Open Source software( a.k.a works for Red Hat).

Shobha Tyagi

PhD student

Nature lover, learner, GNOME foundation documentation team member, pursuing PhD in IT, Shobha is working as Assistant Professor. She is fond of eating tasty food but finds it difficult to cook the same.

Veesa Norman

Mysterious hacker


Ready to start contributing to PeARS? That's great! We are very active on IRC and our discourse discussion platform. Check out our contributors' page, and drop us a post, or say 'Hi' to us over IRC!

IRC: #pears on Freenode