University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar > Automerge: A New Foundation for Collaboration Software

Automerge: A New Foundation for Collaboration Software

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Software for real-time collaboration, such as Google Docs, Overleaf, Figma, or Trello, has enabled many people around the world to continue working remotely during the pandemic. While this software is very valuable, it is also fragile because it relies on centralised, trusted cloud services. If the company providing the cloud software goes out of business, or decides to suspend your account, the software stops working, and you are locked out of all of the documents and data you ever created with that software.

Local-first software is an effort to make collaboration software less dependent on cloud services, and Automerge is an open-source library for realising local-first software. Automerge provides a shared JSON -like data structure that several users can update concurrently, and which automatically merges those updates into a consistent result. It provides data formats for efficiently storing this data and syncing it between users. It seamlessly supports both offline work and live real-time collaboration while online.

Automerge is the result of years of research on Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs). In this talk we will explore both the theoretical foundations of CRD Ts, their practical applications, and the ongoing research in this area.

Bio:

Dr. Martin Kleppmann is a research fellow and affiliated lecturer at the Cambridge Computer Lab, and author of the bestselling book Designing Data-Intensive Applications (O’Reilly Media). He works on distributed systems and security, in particular collaboration software and CRD Ts. Previously he was a software engineer and entrepreneur, co-founding and selling two startups, and working on large-scale data infrastructure at LinkedIn.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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