Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Distributed Systems

Participants : Hamza Ben Ammar, Yann Busnel, Yassine Hadjadj-Aoul, Yves Mocquard, Frédérique Robin, Bruno Sericola.

Stream Processing Systems. Stream processing systems are today gaining momentum as tools to perform analytics on continuous data streams. Their ability to produce analysis results with sub-second latencies, coupled with their scalability, makes them the preferred choice for many big data companies.

A stream processing application is commonly modeled as a direct acyclic graph where data operators, represented by nodes, are interconnected by streams of tuples containing data to be analyzed, the directed edges (the arcs). Scalability is usually attained at the deployment phase where each data operator can be parallelized using multiple instances, each of which will handle a subset of the tuples conveyed by the operators’ ingoing stream. Balancing the load among the instances of a parallel operator is important as it yields to better resource utilization and thus larger throughputs and reduced tuple processing latencies.

Membership management is a classic and fundamental problem in many use cases. In networking for instance, it is useful to check if a given IP address belongs to a black list or not, in order to allow access to a given server. This has also become a key issue in very large-scale distributed systems, or in massive databases. Formally, from a subset belonging to a very large universe, the problem consists in answering the question “Given any element of the universe, does it belong to a given subset?”. Since the access of a perfect oracle answering the question is commonly admitted to be very costly, it is necessary to provide efficient and inexpensive techniques in the context where the elements arrive continuously in a data stream (for example, in network metrology, log analysis, continuous queries in massive databases, etc.). In [36], we propose a simple but efficient solution to answer membership queries based on a couple of Bloom filters. In a nutshell, the idea is to contact the oracle only if an item is seen for the first time. We use a classical Bloom filter to remember an item occurrence. For the next occurrences, we answer the membership query using a second Bloom filter, which is dynamically populated only when the database is queried. We provide theoretical bounds on the false positive and negative probabilities and we illustrate through extensive simulations the efficiency of our solution, in comparison with standard solutions such as classic Bloom filters.

Shuffle grouping is a technique used by stream processing frameworks to share input load among parallel instances of stateless operators. With shuffle grouping each tuple of a stream can be assigned to any available operator instance, independently from any previous assignment. A common approach to implement shuffle grouping is to adopt a Round-Robin policy, a simple solution that fares well as long as the tuple execution time is almost the same for all the tuples. However, such an assumption rarely holds in real cases where execution time strongly depends on tuple content. As a consequence, parallel stateless operators within stream processing applications may experience unpredictable unbalance that, in the end, causes undesirable increase in tuple completion times. We consider recently an application to continuous queries, which are processed by a stream processing engine (SPE) to generate timely results given the ephemeral input data. Variations of input data streams, in terms of both volume and distribution of values, have a large impact on computational resource requirements. Dynamic and Automatic Balanced Scaling for Storm (DABS-Storm) [21] is an original solution for handling dynamic adaptation of continuous queries processing according to evolution of input stream properties, while controlling the system stability. Both fluctuations in data volume and distribution of values within data streams are handled by DABS-Storm to adjust the resources usage that best meets processing needs. To achieve this goal, the DABS-Storm holistic approach combines a proactive auto-parallelization algorithm with a latency-aware load balancing strategy.

Sampling techniques constitute a classical method for detection in large-scale data streams. We have proposed a new algorithm that detects on the fly the k most frequent items in the sliding window model [52]. This algorithm is distributed among the nodes of the system. It is inspired by a recent approach, which consists in associating a stochastic value correlated with the item's frequency instead of trying to estimate its number of occurrences. This stochastic value corresponds to the number of consecutive heads in coin flipping until the first tail occurs. The original approach was to retain just the maximum of consecutive heads obtained by an item, since an item that often occurs will have a higher probability of having a high value. While effective for very skewed data distributions, the correlation is not tight enough to robustly distinguish items with comparable frequencies. To address this important issue, we propose to combine the stochastic approach with a deterministic counting of items. Specifically, in place of keeping the maximum number of consecutive heads obtained by an item, we count the number of times the coin flipping process of an item has exceeded a given threshold. This threshold is defined by combining theoretical results in leader election and coupon collector problems. Results on simulated data show how impressive is the detection of the top-k items in a large range of distributions.

Health Big Data Analysis. The aim of the study was to build a proof-of-concept demonstrating that big data technology could improve drug safety monitoring in a hospital and could help pharmacovigilance professionals to make data-driven targeted hypotheses on adverse drug events (ADEs) due to drug-drug interactions (DDI). In [17], we developed a DDI automatic detection system based on treatment data and laboratory tests from the electronic health records stored in the clinical data warehouse of Rennes academic hospital. We also used OrientDb, a graph database to store informations from five drug knowledge databases and Spark to perform analysis of potential interactions between drugs taken by hospitalized patients. Then, we developed a Machine Learning model to identify the patients in whom an ADE might have occurred because of a DDI. The DDI detection system worked efficiently and the computation time was manageable. The system could be routinely employed for monitoring.

Probabilistic analysis of population protocols. The computational model of population protocols is a formalism that allows the analysis of properties emerging from simple and pairwise interactions among a very large number of anonymous finite-state agents. In [23] we studied dissemination of information in large scale distributed networks through pairwise interactions. This problem, originally called rumor mongering, and then rumor spreading, has mainly been investigated in the synchronous model. This model relies on the assumption that all the nodes of the network act in synchrony, that is, at each round of the protocol, each node is allowed to contact a random neighbor. In the paper, we drop this assumption under the argument that it is not realistic in large scale systems. We thus consider the asynchronous variant, where at random times, nodes successively interact by pairs exchanging their information on the rumor. In a previous paper, we performed a study of the total number of interactions needed for all the nodes of the network to discover the rumor. While most of the existing results involve huge constants that do not allow us to compare different protocols, we provided a thorough analysis of the distribution of this total number of interactions together with its asymptotic behavior. In this paper we extend this discrete time analysis by solving a conjecture proposed previously and we consider the continuous time case, where a Poisson process is associated to each node to determine the instants at which interactions occur. The rumor spreading time is thus more realistic since it is the real time needed for all the nodes of the network to discover the rumor. Once again, as most of the existing results involve huge constants, we provide tight bound and equivalent of the complementary distribution of the rumor spreading time. We also give the exact asymptotic behavior of the complementary distribution of the rumor spreading time around its expected value when the number of nodes tends to infinity.

Among the different problems addressed in the model of population protocols, average-based problems have been studied for the last few years. In these problems, agents start independently from each other with an initial integer state, and at each interaction with another agent, keep the average of their states as their new state. In [45] and [63], using a well chosen stochastic coupling, we considerably improve upon existing results by providing explicit and tight bounds of the time required to converge to the solution of these problems. We apply these general results to the proportion problem, which consists for each agent to compute the proportion of agents that initially started in one predetermined state, and to the counting population size problem, which aims at estimating the size of the system. Both protocols are uniform, i.e., each agent's local algorithm for computing the outputs, given the inputs, does not require the knowledge of the number of agents. Numerical simulations illustrate our bounds of the convergence time, and show that these bounds are tight in the sense that among extensive simulations, numerous ones fit very well with our bounds.

Organizing both transactions and blocks in a distributed ledger. We propose in [53] a new way to organize both transactions and blocks in a distributed ledger to address the performance issues of permissionless ledgers. In contrast to most of the existing solutions in which the ledger is a chain of blocks extracted from a tree or a graph of chains, we present a distributed ledger whose structure is a balanced directed acyclic graph of blocks. We call this specific graph a SYC-DAG. We show that a SYC-DAG allows us to keep all the remarkable properties of the Bitcoin blockchain in terms of security, immutability, and transparency, while enjoying higher throughput and self-adaptivity to transactions demand. To the best of our knowledge, such a design has never been proposed.

Performance of caching systems. Several studies have focused on improving the performance of caching systems in the context of Content-Centric Networking (CCN). In [16], we propose a fairly generic model of caching systems that can be adapted very easily to represent different caching strategies, even the most advanced ones. Indeed, the proposed model of a single cache, named MACS, which stands for Markov chain-based Approximation of CCN Caching Systems, can be extended to represent an interconnection of caches under different schemes. In order to demonstrate the accuracy of our model, we proposed to derive models of the two most effective techniques in the literature, namely LCD and LRU-K, which may adapt to changing patterns of access.

One of the most important concerns when dealing with the performance of caching systems is the static or dynamic (on-demand) placement of caching resources. This issue is becoming particularly important with the upcoming advent of 5G. In [33] we propose a new technique exploiting the model previously proposed model in [16], in order to achieve the best trade-off between the centralization of resources and their distribution, through an efficient placement of caching resources. To do so, we model the cache resources allocation problem as a multi-objective optimization problem, which is solved using Greedy Randomized Adaptive Search Procedures (GRASP). The obtained results confirm the quality of the outcomes compared to an exhaustive search method and show how a cache allocation solution depends on the network's parameters and on the performance metrics that we want to optimize.