University of Cambridge > > Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar > Computers, Clocks and Network Time: Everything you never wanted to know about time

Computers, Clocks and Network Time: Everything you never wanted to know about time

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Eiko Yoneki.

All networked computer systems require some form of temporal synchronization. As networks have gotten faster the demands for accurate, distributed, timekeeping have increased, but most programmers have no idea about the quality of the clocks in their systems, nor how they might be kept in sync. While many have at least heard of NTP (The Network Time Protocol) which is used to synchronize computer clocks over a network, fewer have heard about more recent work, such as the Precision Time Protocol which can keep computers accurate to within several hundred nanoseconds when working over a LAN . Well synchronized clocks are used in financial applications such as High Frequency Trading as well as the electrical grid and cellular telephone networks.

This talk will cover why this problem is hard, how people have tried to solve it to date, and discuss the challenges and pitfalls on the path to getting systems synchronized to within one microsecond.

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

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