Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Maria Pantoja

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Collaboration drives our world and is almost unavoidable in the programming industry. From higher education to the top technological companies, people are working together to drive discovery and innovation. Software engineers must work with their peers to accomplish goals daily in their workplace. When working with others there are a variety of tools to choose from such as Google Docs, Google Colab and Overleaf. Each of the aforementioned collaborative tools utilizes the Operational Transform (OT) technique in order to implement their real time collaboration functionality. Operational transform is the technique seen amongst most if not all major collaborative tools in our industry today. However, there is another way of implementing real time collaboration through a data structure called Conflict-free Replicated Data Type (CRDT) which has made claims of superiority over OT. Previous studies have taken place with the focus on comparing the theory behind OT and CRDT's, but as far as we know, there have not been studies which compare real time collaboration performance using an OT implementation versus a CRDT implementation in a popularly used product such as Google Docs or Overleaf.

Our work will focus on comparing OT and CRDT's real time collaborative performance in Overleaf, an academic authorship tool, which allows for easy collaboration on academic and professional papers. Overleaf's current published version implements real time collaboration using operational transform. This thesis will contribute an analysis of the current real time collaboration performance of operational transform in Overleaf, an implementation of CRDT's for real time collaboration in Overleaf and an analysis of the performance of real time collaboration through the CRDT implementation in Overleaf. This thesis describes the main advantages and disadvantages of OT vs CRDTs, as well as, to our knowledge, the first results of a non-theoretical attempt at implementing CRDTs for handling document edits in a collaborative environment which was originally operating using an OT implementation.