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Hydro: Software that Runs at Every Scale
Keep CALM and CRDT On
Despite decades of research and practical experience, developers have few tools for programming reliable distributed applications without resorting to expensive coordination techniques. Conflict-free replicated datatypes (CRDTs) are a promising line of work that enable coordination-free replication and offer certain eventual consistency guarantees in a relatively simple object-oriented API. Yet CRDT guarantees extend only to data updates; observations of CRDT state are unconstrained and unsafe. We propose an agenda that embraces the simplicity of CRDTs, but provides richer, more uniform guarantees. We extend CRDTs with a query model that reasons about which queries are safe without coordination by applying monotonicity results from the CALM Theorem, and lay out a larger agenda for developing CRDT data stores that let developers safely and efficiently interact with replicated application state.
Proceedings of the VLDB endowment, Vol. 16 No. 4, 2023
Katara: Synthesizing CRDTs with Verified Lifting
Conflict-free replicated data types (CRDTs) are a promising tool for designing scalable, coordination-free distributed systems. However, constructing correct CRDTs is difficult, posing a challenge for even seasoned developers. As a result, CRDT development is still largely the domain of academics, with new designs often awaiting peer review and a manual proof of correctness. In this paper, we present Katara, a program synthesis-based system that takes sequential data type implementations and automatically synthesizes verified CRDT designs from them. Key to this process is a new formal definition of CRDT correctness that combines a reference sequential type with a lightweight ordering constraint that resolves conflicts between noncommutative operations. Our process follows the tradition of work in verified lifting, including an encoding of correctness into SMT logic using synthesized inductive invariants and hand-crafted grammars for the CRDT state and runtime. Katara is able to automatically synthesize CRDTs for a wide variety of scenarios, from reproducing classic CRDTs to synthesizing novel designs based on specifications in existing literature. Crucially, our synthesized CRDTs are fully, automatically verified, eliminating entire classes of common errors and reducing the process of producing a new CRDT from a painstaking paper proof of correctness to a lightweight specification.
Proceedings of the ACM in Programming Languages, Vol. 6, No. OOPSLA2, Article 173, 2022
New Directions in Cloud Programming
Nearly twenty years after the launch of AWS, it remains difficult for most developers to harness the enormous potential of the cloud. In this paper we lay out an agenda for a new generation of cloud programming research aimed at bringing research ideas to programmers in an evolutionary fashion. Key to our approach is a separation of distributed programs into a PACT of four facets: Program semantics, Availablity, Consistency and Targets of optimization. We propose to migrate developers gradually to PACT programming by lifting familiar code into our more declarative level of abstraction. We then propose a multi-stage compiler that emits humanreadable code at each stage that can be hand-tuned by developers seeking more control. Our agenda raises numerous research challenges across multiple areas including language design, query optimization, transactions, distributed consistency, compilers and program synthesis.
The 11th Conference on Innovative Data Systems Research (CIDR ‘21), 2021