For a number of decades, I've been saying "Computing Is Like Hubble's Universe, Everything Is Getting Farther Away from Everything Else". It used to be that everything you cared about ran on a single database and the transaction system presented you the abstraction of a singularity; your transaction happened at a single point in space (the database) and a single point in time (it looked like it was before or after all other transactions).

Now, we see a more complicated world. Across the Internet, we put up HTML documents or send SOAP calls and these are not in a transaction. Within a cluster, we typically write files in a file system and then read them later in a big map-reduce job that sucks up read-only files, crunches, and writes files as output. Even inside the emerging many-core systems, we see high-performance computation on shared memory but increasing cost to using semaphores. Indeed, it is clear that "Shared Memory Works Great as Long as You Don't Actually SHARE Memory".

There are emerging solutions which are based on immutable data. It seems we need to look back to our grandparents and how they managed distributed work in the days before telephones. We realize that "Accountants Don't Use Erasers" but rather accumulate immutable knowledge and then offer interpretations of their understanding based on the limited knowledge presented to them. This talk will explore a number of the ways in which our new distributed systems leverage write-once and read-many immutable data..


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