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Peer-to-peer technology has impacted a wide range of distributed systems beyond simple file-sharing. Distributed XML databases, distributed computing, server-less Web publishing and networked resource/service sharing are only a few to name. Despite the diversity in applications, these systems share a common problem regarding searching and discovery of information. This commonality stems from transitory peer population and volatile peer content. As an effect users do not have the exact information about what they are looking for. Rather queries are based on partial information, which requires the search mechanism to be flexible. On the other hand to scale with network size the search mechanism is also required to be bandwidth efficient. This talk introduces a generic framework called distributed pattern matching to address the search problem in distributed environments while achieving both search flexibility and efficiency.