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Formal design and verification of operational transformation algorithms for copies convergence. (English) Zbl 1086.68019
Summary: Distributed groupware systems provide computer support for manipulating objects such as a text document or a filesystem, shared by two or more geographically separated users. Data replication is a technology to improve performance and availability of data in distributed groupware systems. Indeed, each user has a local copy of the shared objects, upon which he may perform updates. Locally executed updates are then transmitted to the other users. This replication potentially leads, however, to divergent (i.e. different) copies. In this respect, Operational Transformation (OT) algorithms are applied for achieving convergence of all copies, i.e. all users view the same objects. Using these algorithms users can exchange their updates in any order since the convergence should be ensured in all cases. However, the design of such algorithms is a difficult and error-prone activity since building the correct updates for maintaining good convergence properties of the local copies requires examining a large number of situations. In this paper, we present the modelling and deductive verification of OT algorithms with algebraic specifications. We show in particular that many OT algorithms in the literature do not satisfy convergence properties unlike what was stated by their authors.

MSC:
68M14 Distributed systems
68Q65 Abstract data types; algebraic specification
68Q60 Specification and verification (program logics, model checking, etc.)
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