Paper Trail

Computer Systems, Distributed Algorithms and Databases

Category: computer science

Consensus Protocols: Two-Phase Commit

For the next few articles here, I’m going to write about one of the most fundamental concepts in distributed computing – of equal importance to the theory and practice communities. The consensus problem is the problem of getting a set of nodes in a distributed system to agree on something – it might be a […]

BigTable: Google's Distributed Data Store

Although GFS provides Google with reliable, scalable distributed file storage, it does not provide any facility for structuring the data contained in the files beyond a hierarchical directory structure and meaningful file names. It’s well known that more expressive solutions are required for large data sets. Google’s terabytes upon terabytes of data that they retrieve […]

Yahoo's PNUTS

In these politically charged times, it’s important for written media to give equal coverage to all major parties so as not to appear biased or to be endorsing one particular group. With that in mind, we at Paper Trail are happy to devote significant programming time to all the major distributed systems players. This, therefore, […]

The Google File System

It’s been a little while since my last technically meaty update. One system that I’ve been looking at a fair bit recently is Hadoop, which is an open-source implementation of Google’s MapReduce. For me, the interesting part is the large-scale distributed filesystem on which it runs called HDFS. It’s well known that HDFS is based […]

Consistency and availability in Amazon's Dynamo

There is a continuing and welcome trend amongst large, modern technology companies like Google, Yahoo and Amazon to publish details of their systems at academic conferences. One of the problems that researchers at universities have is making a convincing case that their ideas would work well in the real world, since no matter how many […]

In Defense Of Computer Science

Computer science, as an academic discipline, has been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny lately. Of particular interest has been the worth of a CS degree to us, the fee-paying consumers who apparently want nothing more than to transform their college dollars into CV-ready bullet points that will smooth the path to the […]