Reading Group

Welcome to the DistSys Reading Group! Every week we present and discuss one distributed systems paper. We try to focus on relatively new papers, although we occasionally break this rule for some important older publications. The main objective of this group is to share knowledge through the discussion. Our participants come from academia and industry and often carry a unique perspective and expertise on the subject matter.


We start each meeting with a short presentation of the paper by one of the group members. We record the presentation and later upload it to YouTube for the general audience. After the presentation, we move into a group discussion of the paper. This part is not on the record to make sure we can speak freely about the topic and the paper. However, I write a moderated discussion summary for each meeting and post it here. All the summaries are available via the “Summary” link next to the paper title. For the archive of the summaries, navigate to the “Past Meetings” section below.

Meeting Info

Current Schedule (Papers ##81-90)

Past Meetings

Past Special Sessions

  1. Building Distributed Systems With StaterightMarch 30th @ 1pm EST – Jon Nadal.
  2. Distributed Transactions in YugabyteDBMay 11th @12pm EST – Karthik Ranganathan.
  3. Fast General Purpose Transactions in Apache Cassandra – February 9thth @ 2 pm EST – Benedict Elliott Smith

Recent Reading Group Meetings

Reading Group. Faster and Cheaper Serverless Computing on Harvested Resources

The 83rd paper in the reading group continues with another SOSP’21 paper: “Faster and Cheaper Serverless Computing on Harvested Resources” by Yanqi Zhang, Íñigo Goiri, Gohar Irfan Chaudhry, Rodrigo Fonseca, Sameh Elnikety, Christina Delimitrou, Ricardo Bianchini. This paper is the second one in a series of harvested resources papers, with the first one appearing in […]

Reading Group Special Session: Fast General Purpose Transactions in Apache Cassandra

Modern distributed databases employ leader-based consensus protocols to achieve consistency, entailing certain trade-offs: typically either a scalability bottleneck or weak isolation. Leaderless protocols have been proposed to address these and other shortcomings of leader-based techniques, but these have not yet materialized into production systems.  This paper outlines compromises entailed by existing leaderless protocols versus leader-based […]

Reading Group. UniStore: A fault-tolerant marriage of causal and strong consistency

For the 80th paper in the reading group, we picked “UniStore: A fault-tolerant marriage of causal and strong consistency” by Manuel Bravo, Alexey Gotsman, Borja de Régil, and Hengfeng Wei. This ATC’21 paper adapts the Partial Order-Restrictions consistency (PoR) into a transactional model. UniStore uses PoR to reduce coordination efforts and execute as many transactions […]

Reading Group. Characterizing and Optimizing Remote Persistent Memory with RDMA and NVM

We have looked at the “Characterizing and Optimizing Remote Persistent Memory with RDMA and NVM” ATC’21 paper. This paper investigates a combination of two promising technologies: Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) and Non-Volatile Memory (NVM). We have discussed both of these in our reading group before. RDMA allows efficient access to the remote server’s memory, […]

Reading Group. NrOS: Effective Replication and Sharing in an Operating System

The 77thth paper discussion in our reading group was “NrOS: Effective Replication and Sharing in an Operating System” from OSDI’21. While not a distributed systems paper, it borrows high-level distributed systems ideas (namely, state machine replication) to create a new NUMA-optimized sequential kernel. See, all modern machines have many CPU cores. OS kernels must be […]

Reading Group Paper List. Papers ##81-90

We are continuing the DistSys reading group into the winter term with 10 exciting papers. This list is largely based on SOSP’21 papers. For our foundational paper, we will look at FLP impossibility. Impossibility of Distributed Consensus with One Faulty Process –  Classical/Foundation Paper Authors: Michael J. Fischer, Nancy A. Lynch, Michael S. Paterson November […]