 
Summary: A Theory of Competitive Analysis for Distributed Algorithms
Miklos Ajtai James Aspnesy
Cynthia Dwork Orli Waartsz
Abstract
We introduce a theory of competitive analysis for
distributed algorithms. The rst steps in this direc
tion were made in the seminal papers of Bartal, Fiat,
and Rabani 17], and of Awerbuch, Kutten, and Pe
leg 15], in the context of data management and job
scheduling. In these papers, as well as in other sub
sequent work 14, 4, 18], the cost of a distributed al
gorithm is compared to the cost of an optimal global
control algorithm. Here we introduce a more re ned
notion of competitiveness for distributed algorithms,
one that re ects the performance of distributed algo
rithms more accurately. In particular, our theory al
lows one to compare the cost of a distributed online
algorithm to the cost of an optimal distributed algo
rithm. We demonstrate our method by studying the
cooperative collect primitive, rst abstracted by Saks,
