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From Rational Number Reconstruction to Set Reconciliation and File Synchronization

Amarilli, Antoine; Ben Hamouda, Fabrice; Bourse, Florian; Morisset, Robin; Naccache, David; Rauzy, Pablo

This work revisits set reconciliation, the problem of synchronizing two multisets of fixed-size values while minimizing transmission complexity. We propose a new number-theoretic reconciliation protocol called Divide and Factor (D&F;) that achieves optimal asymptotic transmission complexity — as do previously known alternative algorithms. We analyze the computational complexities of various D&F; variants, study the problem of synchronizing sets of variable-size files using hash functions and apply D&F; to synchronize file hierarchies taking file locations into account. We describe btrsync, our open-source D&F; implementation, and benchmark it against the popular software rsync. It appears that btrsync transmits much less data than rsync, at the expense of a relatively modest computational overhead.
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