Group orientation: a paradigm for distributed systems of the nineties

Paulo Veríssimo and Luís Rodrigues

From the Proceedings of the 3rd IEEE Workshop on Future Trends of Distributed Computing Systems, April 1992, Taipe, Taiwan.

NOTE: This article has evolved into a more up-to-date version under the name "Group orientation: a paradigm for modern distributed systems" AR/64-92


Increasing use of distributed systems, with the corresponding decentralization of activities, stimulates the need for structuring those activities around groups of participants, for reasons of consistency, user-friendliness, performance and dependability. Two very diverse fields illustrate this trend: computer supported cooperative group working; distributed computer control.

This paper discusses ways for structuring systems and defining building blocks for group-oriented activity. It is felt that efficient abstractions for the design of highly distributed applications should be structured around concepts like object groups. Furthermore, the group concept should pervade the whole architecture, from network multicasting, to group communications and management, and fundamental synchronisation paradigms. Emerging technology will help materialize these concepts.

Also available as INESC AR/67-92 (gzip postscript).