The Chemistry of Concurrent and Distributed Programming

ACID, BASE, and the Rest

 

Mysore Park Workshop,

Infosys Campus, Mysore, India

Feb 16-19, 2011

 

Recent technological trends, such as multi-core processors and cloud computing, have pushed concurrent and distributed programming to the mainstream. However, developing such programs that are both correct and performant remains a huge challenge. Researchers and practitioners in the varied fields of databases, cloud computing, parallel programming, concurrency, programming languages, and verification have independently tackled this challenge focusing on unique problems arising in their respective domains. We believe that there is significant scope for synergy by bringing together researchers from these diverse areas to build upon insights and techniques from each other. The main goal of this workshop is to provide an opportunity for such a synergy and to foster collaboration between the participants. Participation in the workshop is by invitation only.

 

While the workshop will be loosely organized to allow serendipitous and thought-provoking discussion among the participants, the organizers would like to make correctness a central theme of this workshop. Various correctness notions exist in different domains that allow programmers to build performant systems. For instance, apart from the standard ACID transactions, modern databases provide different isolation levels, such as snapshot isolation, that provide weaker guarantees while allowing transactions to execute faster. Similarly, cloud applications require weaker consistency models, such as BASE, that favor availability over the strong consistency of ACID semantics. On the other hand, the composable nature of software applications has motivated linearizability as a desirable correctness notion for concurrent components that allows highly-optimized implementations that use low-level synchronizations while providing a clean sequential contract at the interface. In this workshop, we would like to explore the relationship between these different correctness notions and investigate methods for specifying, verifying, and testing systems against these notions.

 

Here are some suggested topics that are of interest to this workshop:

·         Correctness Criteria: What forms of consistency notions are appropriate for the different class of concurrent and distributed applications? What kinds of correctness properties do applications typically require? In particular, what degree of isolation, consistency, and atomicity are suitable from the perspective of applications?

·         Specification: How do the applications specify the required correctness criteria?

·         Design Patterns: What design patterns and idioms work well in practice?

·         Systems: To what degree can these properties be guaranteed by the platform (programming language, libraries, and runtime system)? What are the performance tradeoffs when one moves the responsibility for correctness between the platform and application?

·         Verification: How to build automatic verification and testing tools that determine if applications ensure the desired specification

·         Synthesis: Can program synthesis aid in achieving correct-by-construction applications?

 

Workshop Program

The program is available here. The slides for all of the talks are also available as a zip file.

Travel & Visa Details

Most international visitors require a visa to enter India. You should contact the Indian embassy in your country to obtain more details. Here are the links to the visa issuing organizations for the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Israel. You can obtain a sponsor letter required for the visa by contacting Rama.

For international visitors, the most convenient way to reach the workshop is to fly into Bangalore. For Indian participants limited travel support may be available on request. We will provide more details on traveling from Bangalore to Mysore very soon.

Organizers

·         Madhavan Mukund, Chennai Mathematical Institute

·         Madan Musuvathi, Microsoft Research, Redmond

·         Ganesan Ramalingam, Microsoft Research, Bangalore

 

Mysore Park Workshop Series

The Mysore Park Workshop is a series of workshops that is inspired and modeled after the Dagstuhl workshop series. It will be held at the Infosys Mysore campus, located approximately 150km away from Bangalore. These workshops are aimed at bringing together leading researchers from across the world to stimulate collaborative research on cutting-edge topics, particularly those of cross-disciplinary interest.  There will be particular emphasis on the overall quality of discussion.  To keep quality high, participation will be limited to experts from academia and industry. Workshops will be encouraged to produce a report, which is an important way to summarize actionable items (research challenges, resources, thesis topics) from the discussion. A significant attempt will be made to disseminate the discussion inside India by inviting PhD students, young researchers and practitioners. These invitees can be young upcoming researchers who will be "observers” for the meeting (and do not need to be established experts).

 

Sponsorship and Expenses

 

This workshop is sponsored with the generous support of Mr. N R Narayanamurthy (co-founder, Infosys). All local expenses of the participants, such as accommodation and food expenses will be covered. The participants are responsible for their travel to and from Mysore.