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 ##91-100)

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. Achieving High Throughput and Elasticity in a Larger-than-Memory Store

“Achieving High Throughput and Elasticity in a Larger-than-Memory Store” paper by Chinmay Kulkarni, Badrish Chandramouli, and Ryan Stutsman discusses elastic, scalable distributed storage. The paper proposes Shadowfax, an extension to the FASTER single-node KV-store. The particular use case targeted by Shadowfax is the ingestion of large volumes of (streaming) data. The system does not appear […]

Reading Group. Shard Manager: A Generic Shard Management Framework for Geo-distributed Applications

The 97th paper in the reading group was “Shard Manager: A Generic Shard Management Framework for Geo-distributed Applications.” This paper from Facebook talks about a sharding framework used in many of Facebook’s internal systems and applications. Sharding is a standard way to provide horizontal scalability — systems can break down their data into (semi-) independent […]

New Reading List: Papers #101-110

Summer term papers are here! The list is bellow. Also, here is a Google Calendar. Graham: Synchronizing Clocks by Leveraging Local Clock Properties – NSDI’22 Authors: Ali Najafi, Michael Wei What: Better clock sync under failures When: May 18th, 2022 Understanding, Detecting and Localizing Partial Failures in Large System Software – NSDI’20 Authors: Chang Lou, […]

Reading Group. ByShard: Sharding in a Byzantine Environment

Our 93rd paper in the reading group was “ByShard: Sharding in a Byzantine Environment” by Jelle Hellings, Mohammad Sadoghi. This VLDB’21 paper talks about sharded byzantine systems and proposes an approach that can implement 18 different multi-shard transaction algorithms. More specifically, the paper discusses two-phase commit (2PC) and two-phase locking (2PL) in a byzantine environment. […]

Reading Group. Using Lightweight Formal Methods to Validate a Key-Value Storage Node in Amazon S3

For the 90th reading group paper, we did “Using Lightweight Formal Methods to Validate a Key-Value Storage Node in Amazon S3” by James Bornholt, Rajeev Joshi, Vytautas Astrauskas, Brendan Cully, Bernhard Kragl, Seth Markle, Kyle Sauri, Drew Schleit, Grant Slatton, Serdar Tasiran, Jacob Van Geffen, Andrew Warfield. As usual, we have a video: Andrey Satarin […]

Reading Group. EPaxos Revisited.

In the 88th DistSys meeting, we discussed the “EPaxos Revisited” NSDI’21 paper by Sarah Tollman, Seo Jin Park, and John Ousterhout. We had an improvised presentation, as I had to step in and talk about the paper on short notice without much preparation.  EPaxos Background Today’s paper re-evaluates one very popular in academia state machine […]