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The lattices Crate

The lattices Crate

The lattices crate provides ergonomic and compsable lattice types. You can also implement custom lattices via a few simple traits.

Lattices are an incredibly powerful mathematical concept which can greatly simplify the trickiness of distributed computing. They align very well with the reality of what happens physically in a distrubted system: messages can always arrive out-of-order or duplicated. But if that data is represented as lattices then all machines will always reach the same end result simply by merging the data together. One popular way of lattices are currently used in distributed systems is as the data underlying Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs).

Lattices also allow us to harness the power of the CALM Theorem: "a program has a consistent, coordination-free distributed implementation if and only if it is monotonic." Lattice state is always monotonic, meaning any part of a distributed system built on lattice state can be freely distributed with no coordination overhead. The goal of the Hydro Project is to allow users to write programs that automatically scale and distribute effortlessly.

For more information on the underlying mathematics of lattices and monotonicity, take a look at Lattice Math section of the Hydroflow Book and Section 2 of the Hydroflow Thesis (2021).

Take a look at the lattice rustdocs.


lattices provides implementations of common lattice types:

  • [Min<T>] and [Max<T>] - totally-ordered lattices.
  • [set_union::SetUnion<T>] - set-union lattice of scalar values.
  • [map_union::MapUnion<K, Lat>] - scalar keys with nested lattice values.
  • [union_find::UnionFind<K>] - union partitions of a set of scalar values.
  • [VecUnion<Lat>] - growing Vec of nested lattices, like MapUnion<<usize, Lat>> but without missing entries.
  • [WithBot<Lat>] - wraps a lattice in Option with None as the new bottom value.
  • [WithTop<Lat>] - wraps a lattice in Option with None as the new top value.
  • [Pair<LatA, LatB>] - product of two nested lattices.
  • [DomPair<LatKey, LatVal>]* - a versioned pair where the LatKey dominates the LatVal.
  • [Conflict<T>]* - adds a "conflict" top to domain T. Merging inequal Ts results in top.
  • [Point<T, *>]* - a single "point lattice" value which cannot be merged with any inequal value.
  • () - the "unit" lattice, a "point lattice" with unit () as the only value in the domain.

*Special implementations which do not obey all lattice properties but are still useful under certain circumstances.

Additionally, custom lattices can be made by implementing the traits below.


A type becomes a lattice by implementing one or more traits starting with Merge. These traits are already implemented for all the provided lattice types.


The main trait is [Merge], which defines a lattice merge function (AKA "join" or "least upper bound"). Implementors must define the [Merge::merge] method which does a merge in-place into &mut self. The method must return true if self was modified (i.e. the value got larger in the lattice partial order) and false otherwise (i.e. other was smaller than self). The [Merge::merge_owned] function, which merges two owned values, is provided.

The merge method must be associative, commutative, and idempotent. This is not checked by the compiler, but the implementor can use the [test::check_lattice_properties] method to spot-check these properties on a collection of values.

PartialOrd, LatticeOrd, and NaiveLatticeOrd

Rust already has a trait for partial orders, [PartialOrd], which should be implemented on lattice types. However that trait is not specific to lattice partial orders, therefore we provide the[LatticeOrd<Rhs>]: PartialOrd<Rhs> marker trait to denote when a PartialOrd implementation is a lattice partial order. LatticeOrd must always agree with the Merge function.

Additionally, the sealed [NaiveLatticeOrd] trait is provided on all lattice types that implement Merge and Clone. This trait provides a naive_cmp method which derives a lattice order from the Merge function directly. However the implementation is generally slow and inefficient.

Implementors should use the [test::check_partial_ord_properties] method to check their PartialOrd implementation, and should use the [test::check_lattice_ord] to ensure the partial order agrees with the Merge-derived NaiveLatticeOrd order.


[LatticeFrom] is equivalent to the [std::convert::From] trait but specific to lattices. LatticeFrom should be implemented only between different representations of the same lattice type, e.g. between [set_union::SetUnionBTreeSet] and [set_union::SetUnionHashSet]. For compound lattice (lattices with nested lattice types), the LatticeFrom implementation should be recursive for those nested lattices.

IsBot, IsTop, and Default

A bottom (⊥) is strictly less than all other values. A top (⊤) is strictly greater than all other values. IsBot::is_bot and IsTop::is_top determine if a lattice instance is top or bottom respectively.

For lattice types, Default::default() must create a bottom value. IsBot::is_bot(&Default::default()) should always return true for all lattice types.


[Atomize::atomize] converts a lattice point into a bunch of smaller lattice points. When these "atoms" are merged together they will form the original lattice point. See the docs for more precise semantics.


[DeepReveal] allows recursive "revealing" of the underlying data within latties. Particularly useful for revealing nested lattices.


Take a look at Lattice Math for a simple explanation and summary of what lattices are exactly. See the lattice rustdocs here.