Telling Our Story
Meet Your Host
Paul Borrill is the founder and CEO of Daedaelus Corporation and is a leading industry expert on the foundations of resilient network and storage infrastructures. Paul has served on: Apple’s Infrastructure team. VP/CTO for VERITAS Software. VP/Chief Architect for Storage Systems at Quantum Corporation. Distinguished Engineer, Director of Architecture & Performance and Chief Scientist for IR at Sun Microsystems.
He was educated In Physics at the University of Manchester, has a Ph.D in Physics from University College London, and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program.
Paul was the founding chairman of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). He served as Vice President of Technical Activities, Vice President of Standards, and on the Governing Board of the IEEE Computer Society.
His lifelong interest in dependable computing came from working with NASA, designing computer systems & software for an experiment that performed extraordinarily well on flight 51F of the Space Shuttle.
Lamport's Unfinished Revolution
Papers We Love San Francisco: April 2019
Paul Borrill on Lamport’s unfinished revolution.
This talk reviews Lamport’s seminal 1978 paper on Time, Clocks and the Ordering of Events, the 2nd most cited paper in all of computer science.
Almost all software engineers claim to have read it. Many who haven’t read it, use (and basically understand) the fundamental idea of logical clocks, and their progeny (vector clocks, matrix clocks, etc.). More than a few understand the current state of the art: dotted version vectors and bounded version vectors. Paradoxically, almost everyone missed some of the more subtle concepts, and questions that Lamport introduced in this paper.
In the intervening years. Progress has occurred, and the state of the art has evolved. This talk is therefore in three parts. The first being a review of the paper itself, the concepts it introduced, and the assumptions behind these concepts. The second part reflects what we’ve learned in the intervening years, and especially the relationship of Lamport’s (original) understanding of time, which was superior to almost all other computer scientists at the time, and what (in contrast) we know now. The third part will be entirely devoted to questions and answers: Where anyone can ask a question, and anyone can try to answer it. The speaker will try to answer the question if no one else wants to, or if the audience appears dissatisfied. The discussion is expected to be lively, insightful, and potentially, mind blowing.
In order to prepare yourself for this talk. Anticipate there will come a point where you are asked to take a blue pill vs. a red pill. If you watch these videos, your red pill transition will be gentler. Most of you may prefer to take the blue pill and go back to your old way of thinking about time. In which case, you won’t find this talk very interesting, because of course you already know all the answers.