October 27 – 31 , 2019, Dagstuhl Seminar 19442

Programming Languages for Distributed Systems and Distributed Data Management


Carla Ferreira (New University of Lisbon, PT)
Philipp Haller (KTH Royal Institute of Technology – Stockholm, SE)
Volker Markl (TU Berlin, DE)
Guido Salvaneschi (TU Darmstadt, DE)
Cristina Videira Lopes (University of California – Irvine, US)

For support, please contact

Annette Beyer for administrative matters

Michael Gerke for scientific matters

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Developing distributed systems is a well-known, decades-old problem in computer science. Despite significant research effort dedicated to this area, programming distributed systems remains challenging. The issues of consistency, concurrency, fault tolerance, as well as (asynchronous) remote communication among heterogeneous platforms naturally show up in this class of systems, creating a demand for proper language abstractions that enable developers to tackle such challenges.

Over the last years, language abstractions have been a key for achieving the properties above in many industrially successful distributed systems. For example, MapReduce takes advantage of purity to parallelize task processing, complex event processing adopts declarative programming to express sophisticated event correlations, and Spark leverages functional programming for efficient fault recovery via lineage. In parallel, there have been notable advances in research on programming languages for distributed systems, such as conflict-free replicated data types, distributed information flow security, language support for safe distribution of computations, as well as programming frameworks for mixed IoT/cloud development.

However, the researchers that have been carrying out these efforts are scattered across different communities that include programming language design, type systems and theory, database systems and database theory, distributed systems, systems programming, data-centric programming, and web application development. This Dagstuhl Seminar aims to bring researchers from these different communities together.

The seminar aims to focus on answering the following major questions in addition to those raised by participants:

  • Which abstractions are required in emergent fields of distributed systems, such as mixed cloud/edge computing and IoT?
  • How can language abstractions be designed in a way that they provide a high-level interface to programmers and still allow fine-grained tuning of low-level properties when needed, possibly in a gradual way?
  • Which compilation pipeline (e.g., which intermediate representation) is needed to address the (e.g., optimization) issues of distributed systems?
  • Which research issues must be solved to provide tools (e.g., debuggers, profilers) that are needed to support languages that target distributed systems?
  • Which security and privacy issues come up in the context of programming languages for distributed systems and how can they be addressed?
  • What benchmarks can be defined to compare language implementations for distributed systems?

Motivation text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Philipp Haller, Volker Markl, Guido Salvaneschi, and Cristina Videira Lopes


  • Data Bases / Information Retrieval
  • Operating Systems
  • Programming Languages / Compiler


  • Distributed programming
  • Big data processing
  • Distributed computing
  • Distributed data management
  • Cloud computing


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.

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