University of Toronto
Department of Computer Science

A Distinguished Lecture on Computer Science

Barbara Liskov

Ford Professor of Engineering
Laboratory for Computer Science
Massachusetts Institute for Technology

Persistent Object Repositories in Distributed Systems


The new applications that will be offered on the Internet (e.g., electronic commerce) will often be distributed programs providing services based on highly-available access to persistent information. Such systems will be significantly easier to implement if they can make use of a repository that provides highly reliable and highly available storage for persistent objects. Such a repository not only provides the benefits of object-oriented programming, but in addition can ensure safety in the presence of concurrency and failures by providing support for atomic transactions. Furthermore, the repository can solve several of the hard problems in distributed systems, including consistent cache management and replication protocols for high availability. As a result the application builder can construct a simple sequential system based on the types of persistent objects needed in the application, and can focus on providing sophisticated new user services.

This talk will discuss the requirements for object repositories: what services they need to provide to their users. It will also discuss how to implement object repositories efficiently in a wide-area, large-scale distributed environment.


Professor Liskov is the Ford Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research interests lie in the areas of programming methodology, programming languages, and programming systems and she has done research on data abstraction, program specifications, object-oriented programming, concurrency control, fault tolerance, parallel and distributed programs, and algorithms for distributed systems. Her projects include the design and implementation of CLU, the first programming language to support data abstraction; the design and implementation of Argus, the first high-level language to support implementation of distributed programs; and the Thor object-oriented database system, which provides transactional access to persistent, highly-available objects in a wide-scale distributed environment.

Professor Liskov is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received the 1996 Achievement Award from the Society of Women Engineers. She is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the IEEE and has served in various capacities within these organizations. She has served on advisory committees for the NSF, the ONR, and the NAS, and as a member of the Computer Science visiting committees for Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Chicago. She has published more than 100 technical papers, and has supervised 20 PhD Students and over 50 MS students.

Host: contact Prof. Hadzilacos for information on the speaker's schedule.

Time and Location: Tuesday, March 13th, 10am (Note unusual time.) SF 1105

R. J. Miller
Last modified: Mon Apr 30 22:26:16 EDT 2001