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DHT subcrate for kitsune-p2p.

This crate defines the "quantized DHT", the objects which inhabit it, and the operations on these objects.

The kitsune_p2p_dht_arc crate will probably be absorbed into this one eventually.

License: Apache-2.0


Defines the structure of the DHT, the objects which inhabit it, and the operations on these objects.

Structure and contents of the DHT

The DHT is populated by Agents and Ops. Agents introduce new Ops to the DHT, and are responsible for storing their own Ops and the Ops of other Agents.

Each Agent has a fixed Location, and each Op has both a fixed Location and a fixed Timestamp.

Locations are one-dimensional, and are best thought of as positions on a circle. They are represented by Wrapping<u32>. Timestamps are best thought of as positions on a timeline, and are represented by an i64 which denotes microseconds since the UNIX epoch. The Location dimension is circular, and the Time dimension is linear.

Each Agent has an Arc which marks out a portion of the circle of Locations. Arcs have a fixed starting point, and extend "clockwise" by some length which is chosen by Kitsune and changes over time. Every Agent is responsible for holding a copy of any Ops whose location overlaps their Arc. As we will see later, Arcs are quantized.

Geometrical interpretation

This crate works heavily with the concept of a two-dimensional cylindrical "spacetime" surface -- all terminology in this crate is built with this model in mind, so it helps to explain it a bit here.

If we think of Location as a spatial dimension, and Time as a temporal dimension, we can think of the DHT as a two-dimensional spacetime.

The Location dimension is circular, i.e. the endpoints are connected, but the Time dimension is linear and constantly expanding. So, these two dimensions form a cylindrical surface, with its base at the origin time of the network, and a constantly increasing height as time marches forward.


  • An Op can be thought of as a point somewhere on the surface of this cylinder,
  • An Agent can be thought of as a line perpendicular to the base, extending across the entire length of the cylinder.
  • An Arc can be thought of as a rectangular "stripe" made by sweeping the Agent line across the distance specified by the length of the Arc.
  • A Region is an arbitrary rectangular area of spacetime.


One key feature of this DHT space is that it is quantized in both dimensions. You can think of this as a grid which overlays spacetime, which has the effect of grouping Agents and Ops into buckets specified by the grid cells. Another way to think of this is we only refer to items by which grid cell they appear in, not by their absolute coordinates.

Topology and Quantum Coordinates

The quantization is specified by a parameter called the Topology. This construct defines how the quantized grid is overlaid onto spacetime, and specifies how to transform between "absolute" coordinates (Locations and Timestamps) and "quantum" coordinates (grid cells).

Each Kitsune Space is free to choose its own Topology (and all nodes in that space must agree to use the same Topology). However, in practice we currently use the same topology for all spaces:

  • the standard space quantum size is 2^12
  • the standard time quantum size is 5 minutes

Additionally, we include a "time origin" component in the topology, which describes a shift of the origin of the time dimension of the quantized grid. In other words, the time origin specifies what Timestamp corresponds to the origin coordinate of the grid's time dimension.

For the purpose of terminology, we refer to these rectangular grid cells as the spacetime quanta. The sides of these rectangles are the space quanta and time quanta.

Segments (Chunks) and Exponential Coordinates (TODO land on a name for this?)

For the purposes of our gossip algorithm, we specify Arcs in terms of "segments" or "chunks". A Segment is a set of 2^p contiguous quanta, where p is a whole number. So, segments are always a power-of-two multiple of the quantum size. Additionally, the offset from the origin must also be a power of two. So, the set of all possible segments implies a collection of uniform grids layered on top of the quantum grid, each one twice as coarse as the one below it.

Thus, we can refer to the successive levels of coarseness of quantization by a single whole number, referred to as the "power", since it takes the form of 2^p. A "power" of 0 refers to the quantum grid itself. A power of 1 is twice as coarse, and so on.

Arcs are specified as a set of contiguous Segments all of the same power.

Quantized Gossip

The reason for this detailed quantization of spacetime is to implement historical gossip between agents efficiently. Each Agent has its own Arc which represents which Ops it is responsible for storing and gossiping to other agents. When two agents gossip, they have to quickly and efficiently determine which Ops they already have in common, and which they need to send to each other.

This is accomplished by agents exchanging information about the Regions of spacetime that they hold in common. This needs to be done with a minimum of coordination, which is why we use a uniform quantization of spacetime -- if there are only so many ways to split up spacetime into Regions, there is a greater chance that agents will have information on the exact same regions.

Concretely, when agents gossip, they exchange the "fingerprint" of each region they have in common with their counterpart, and for any regions whose fingerprints mismatch, each agent sends all the ops in that region to their counterpart. For the regions which match, it is understood that both parties hold the same data in those regions and need no further gossip on those regions. Therefore, it is important to split spacetime into regions in such a way that when mismatches in region fingerprints occur, they are for small amounts of data; or if they are for large amounts of data, then the mismatches should be rare. At the same time, we don't want to split into too many regions, because that would lead to a larger overhead with minimal gains.

Quantizing space

Each agent selects a power level for its arc based on its observation of the network conditions. Ideally, each agent sees a similar view of the network and chooses the same power level as the other nearby agents. When the power levels match, the two agents are tracking space at the same level of granularity and can more easily coordinate. Inasmuch as the power levels differ, one of the agents will have to do some extra computation to reconcile the difference.

Without going into too much detail, the power level is mainly a function of how many other Agents are in the vicinity. Agents start with a high power level, covering large sections of the DHT with a coarsely subdivided arc, and as more agents join, they reduce their power level, having smaller segments and tracking ops at a finer level of resolution.

With the standard parameters for Arc resizing, it is guaranteed that an agent's Arc will always contain between 8 and 15 segments.

Quantizing time

There is also the time dimension to consider. Agents subdivide space according to who else is around. They subdivide time differently, and somewhat more simply: the older a particular time is, the larger the time segment it will be a part of. The rationale for this is that older data experiences changes far less often than newer data, so it is very likely for older regions to be similar between two agents, and thus they can compare older data in larger swathes than newer data, which is expected to experience changes more frequently.

This also has the nice property that the number of segments we use in time only increases logarithmically with the passing of time itself, since older regions are twice as long in the time dimension as newer regions.

Since the number of space segments in an arc has constant upper and lower bounds, and the number of time segments increases logarithmically, the overall overhead of coordination during gossip increases only logarithmically as the network grows. Thus, even long-lived networks have the ability to do historical gossip efficiently.


~308K SLoC