Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

European Initiatives

FP7 & H2020 Projects

  • Title: Large-scale computation without synchronisation

  • Programm: FP7

  • Duration: October 2013 - September 2016

  • Coordinator: Inria

  • Partners:

    • Basho Technologies (United Kingdom)

    • Faculdade de Ciencias e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal)

    • Koç University (Turkey)

    • Rovio Entertainment Oy (Finland)

    • Trifork As (Denmark)

    • Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium)

    • Technische Universitaet Kaiserslautern (Germany)

  • Inria contact: Marc Shapiro

  • The goal of SyncFree is to enable large-scale distributed applications without global synchronisation, by exploiting the recent concept of Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs). CRDTs allow unsynchronised concurrent updates, yet ensure data consistency. This revolutionary approach maximises responsiveness and availability; it enables locating data near its users, in decentralised clouds. Global-scale applications, such as virtual wallets, advertising platforms, social networks, online games, or collaboration networks, require consistency across distributed data items. As networked users, objects, devices, and sensors proliferate, the consistency issue is increasingly acute for the software industry. Current alternatives are both unsatisfactory: either to rely on synchronisation to ensure strong consistency, or to forfeit synchronisation and consistency altogether with ad-hoc eventual consistency. The former approach does not scale beyond a single data centre and is expensive. The latter is extremely difficult to understand, and remains error-prone, even for highly-skilled programmers. SyncFree avoids both global synchronisation and the complexities of ad-hoc eventual consistency by leveraging the formal properties of CRDTs. CRDTs are designed so that unsynchronised concurrent updates do not conflict and have well-defined semantics. By combining CRDT objects from a standard library of proven datatypes (counters, sets, graphs, sequences, etc.), large-scale distributed programming is simpler and less error-prone. CRDTs are a practical and cost-effective approach. The SyncFree project will develop both theoretical and practical understanding of large-scale synchronisation-free programming based on CRDTs. Project results will be new industrial applications, new application architectures, large-scale evaluation of both, programming models and algorithms for large-scale applications, and advanced scientific understanding.