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Randomized Protocols for Asynchronous Consensus James Aspnes

Summary: Randomized Protocols for Asynchronous Consensus
James Aspnes
September 5, 2002
The famous Fischer, Lynch, and Paterson impossibility proof shows
that it is impossible to solve the consensus problem in a natural model
of an asynchronous distributed system if even a single process can
fail. Since its publication, two decades of work on fault-tolerant asyn-
chronous consensus algorithms have evaded this impossibility result by
using extended models that provide (a) randomization, (b) additional
timing assumptions, (c) failure detectors, or (d) stronger synchroniza-
tion mechanisms than are available in the basic model. Concentrating
on the first of these approaches, we illustrate the history and structure
of randomized asynchronous consensus protocols by giving detailed de-
scriptions of several such protocols.
1 Introduction
The consensus problem [45] is to get a group of n processes in a distributed
system to agree on a value. A consensus protocol is an algorithm that
produces such an agreement. Each process in a consensus protocol has, as
part of its initial state, an input from some specified range, and must eventu-


Source: Aspnes, James - Department of Computer Science, Yale University
Garg, Vijay - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
Montresor, Alberto - Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Scienza dell'Informazione, UniversitÓ di Trento


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences