I’m excited to be serving on the program committee for this year’s Workshop on Principles and Practice of Consistency for Distributed Data (PaPoC). The workshop will be held in April, co-located with EuroSys 2015 in Bordeaux, France, and we’re accepting talk proposals until February
PaPoC is a new workshop and the successor to last year’s Workshop on Principles and Practice of Eventual Consistency; the new name reflects a focus not only on eventual consistency, but on the whole design space of consistency models. Quoting from the workshop’s website:
Consistency is one of the fundamental issues of distributed computing. There are many competing consistency models, with subtly different power in principle. In practice, the well-known the Consistency-Availability-Partition Tolerance trade-off translates to difficult choices between fault tolerance, performance, and programmability. The issues and trade-offs are particularly vexing at scale, with a large number of processes or a large shared database, and in the presence of high latency and failure-prone networks. It is clear that there is no one universally best solution.
Possible approaches cover the whole spectrum between strong and eventual consistency. Strong consistency (total ordering via, for example, linearizability or serializability) provides familiar and intuitive semantics but requires slow and fragile synchronization and coordination overheads. The unlimited parallelism allowed by weaker models such as eventual consistency promises high performance, but divergence and conflicts make it difficult to ensure useful application invariants, and meta-data is hard to keep in check.
The research and development communities are actively exploring intermediate models (replicated data types, monotonic programming, CRDTs, LVars, causal consistency, red-blue consistency, invariant- and proof-based systems, etc.), designed to improve efficiency, programmability, and overall operation without negatively impacting scalability.
This workshop aims to investigate the principles and practice of weak consistency models for large-scale, distributed shared data systems. It will bring together theoreticians and practitioners from different horizons: system development, distributed algorithms, concurrency, fault tolerance, databases, language and verification, including both academia and industry.
I’ve posted about CFPs for a lot of events this year, but PaPoC stands out in a few ways. First, it’s the most “systems-y” PC I’ve been on, and I expect most people at the workshop to be from the distributed systems community, rather than the PL community — which, from my point of view, is a good thing, since I’d like to learn more about distributed systems. Second, I’m pretty sure that PaPoC’s is the first CFP to specifically mention LVars! And finally, on a personal note, PaPoC is going to be the first academic workshop or conference I’ve been on the PC for that I’ll actually be able to attend. So, if you’re working on something that has to do with consistency for distributed data — whether it’s “systems-y” or not — then please consider submitting a talk proposal to PaPoC, and I hope we’ll see you in April in Bordeaux.