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Keynote: Event-based thinking in collaboration software

A talk at 15th ACM International Conference on Distributed and Event-based Systems (DEBS), Online, 02 Jul 2021

Abstract

What do Google Docs and stream processing have in common? Both are centered around the idea of streams of events. In the case of Google Docs and other collaboration software, each event describes a change that a user has made to a document. Each user’s local device has a copy of the shared document, and processing the stream of changes means updating this local copy so that it is consistent with all of the other users’ copies of the document.

This talk will explore collaboration software through the lens of event-based thinking, explaining some of the algorithms that are used to implement this kind of software, such as Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs). We will highlight new developments in this area, such as local-first software, and identify some open challenges in the area.