Supporting Research Collaboration through Bi-Level File Synchronization

  • Cathy Marshall ,
  • Ted Wobber ,
  • Rama Ramasubramanian ,
  • Doug Terry

Proceedings of Group 2012 |

Published by ACM

In this paper, we describe the design and use of Cimetric, a file synchronization application that supports scholarly collaboration. The system design incorporates results of earlier studies that suggest replicating content on a user’s personal devices may have different characteristics than replicating content to share it with collaborators. To realize this distinction, Cimetric performs bi-level synchronization: it synchronizes local copies of a versioned repository among collaborators’ computers, while it separately synchronizes private working files between each user’s personal devices. Through a year’s worth of in-house use of Cimetric in a variety of configurations, we were able to investigate key file synchronization issues, including the role of cloud storage given the ability to sync between peers; the strengths and weaknesses of a bi-level design; and which aspects of the synchronization process to reveal to users.