Basic Research on Advanced Distributed Computing: from Algorithms to Systems


Work Area: Distributed Systems, Reliability and Dependability

Keywords distributed systems, distributed algorithms, group communication, fault-tolerance, object management, operating systems

Start Date: 1 September 92 / Duration: 36 months / Status: running

[ participants / contact ]

Abstract BROADCAST will develop the principles for understanding, designing, and implementing large scale distributed computing systems (LSDCSs). The three areas adressed are fundamental concepts, systems architecture, and systems engineering.


Large-scale distributed computing systems (LSDCSs) comprising several thousands to millions of individual computer systems (nodes) are coming into existence both as a consequence of technological advances and the demands made by applications. The BROADCAST project aims to develop the principles for understanding, designing and implementing LSDCSs.

Approach and Methods

The project is addressing the following tasks:

The project places equal emphasis on building sound theoretical foundations and experimental work for demonstrating the validity of the principles developed. This includes building prototype systems and tools.

Progress and Results

The project has been particularly productive in the area covered by task A; this is consistent with our plan of using the results from ask A to provide a firm grounding for the rest of the project. Deeper understanding of problems of failure detection, message ordering, group management, replica management etc. has been developed, leading to some promising algorithms and system structuring approaches. Members of the project have been involved in several design and implementation efforts on building distributed systems and applications, efforts that started well before the present project. This project has given us the opportunity of focusing our work more towards LSDCS problems than was the case before. Project contributions in the areas covered by tasks B and C include efficient schemes for remote referencing of objects, wide-address operating systems, storage management, object support systems and application building tools.


Existing wide-area communication networks in Europe and elsewhere can be viewed as forming the basic infrastructure necessary for building LSDCSs. Furthermore, increasingly large numbers of IT applications will depend on effective, coherent sharing of information as well as the possibility of collaboration between large groups of geographically dispersed users. The increase in scale adds a new dimension to the problems of building distributed systems, and requires rethinking of many of the existing computational paradigms, algorithms and structuring principles for distributed computing. The BROADCAST project will address these issues and will share results and insights gained from the theoretical and experimental work with colleagues in academia and industry through the normal channels of research publications, reports and workshops. In addition, the software developed within the project will be made available widely. The consortium expects to be able to transfer some results to industry through its industrial contacts.

Latest Publications

Information Dissemination Activies

The project held its first Open Workshop in October 1993. The workshop attendance was about seventy, of which about half of the participants were from industry. Project deliverable reports have been made available to all the participants. Many of the contributions of the deliverable reports have been presented (or will be presented) at various refereed international conferences and workshops. In addition, the Project produces and distributes technical reports; their availability is announced using a variety of electronic communication means.

For further information about the project see the BROADCAST WWW home page <URL:> or contact:

Nick Cook (, BROADCAST Administrative Co-ordinator, Department of Computing Science, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK -


University of Newcastle - UK
Department of Computing Science
UK - Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU


Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - CH
Bull/IMAG - F
Università di Bologna - I
Universiteit van Twente - NL


Prof. S. K. Shrivastava
tel +44/91 222 8038
fax +44/91 222 8232

LTR synopses home page LTR work area index LTR acronym index LTR number index LTR Projects index
All synopses home page all acronyms index all numbers index

BROADCAST - 6360, August 1994

please address enquiries to the ESPRIT Information Desk

html version of synopsis by Nick Cook