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A distributed algorithm is an algorithm designed to run on computer hardware constructed from interconnected processors. Distributed algorithms are used in many varied application areas of distributed computing, such as telecommunications, scientific computing, distributed information processing, and real-time process control. Standard problems solved by distributed algorithms include leader election, consensus, distributed search, spanning tree generation, mutual exclusion, and resource allocation.Distributed algorithms are typically executed concurrently, with separate parts of the algorithm being run simultaneously on independent processors, and having limited information about what the other parts of the algorithm are doing. One of the major challenges in developing and implementing distributed algorithms is successfully coordinating the behavior of the independent parts of the algorithm in the face of processor failures and unreliable communications links. The choice of an appropriate distributed algorithm to solve a given problem depends on both the characteristics of the problem, and characteristics of the system the algorithm will run on such as the type and probability of processor or link failures, the kind of inter-process communication that can be performed, and the level of timing synchronization between separate processes.
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In Distributed Algorithms, Nancy Lynch provides a blueprint for designing, implementing, and analyzing distributed algorithms. She directs her book at a wide audience, including students, programmers, system designers, and researchers.
Distributed Algorithms contains the most significant algorithms and impossibility results in the area, all in a simple automata-theoretic setting. The algorithms are proved correct, and their complexity is analyzed according to precisely defined complexity measures. The problems covered include resource allocation, communication, consensus among distributed processes, data consistency, deadlock detection, leader election, global snapshots, and many others.
The material is organized according to the system model―first by the timing model and then by the interprocess communication mechanism. The material on system models is isolated in separate chapters for easy reference.
The presentation is completely rigorous, yet is intuitive enough for immediate comprehension. This book familiarizes readers with important problems, algorithms, and impossibility results in the area: readers can then recognize the problems when they arise in practice, apply the algorithms to solve them, and use the impossibility results to determine whether problems are unsolvable. The book also provides readers with the basic mathematical tools for designing new algorithms and proving new impossibility results. In addition, it teaches readers how to reason carefully about distributed algorithms―to model them formally, devise precise specifications for their required behavior, prove their correctness, and evaluate their performance with realistic measures.About the Author:
About the author: Nancy A. Lynch is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and heads MIT's Theory of Distributed Systems research group. She is the author of numerous research articles about distributed algorithms and impossibility results, and about formal modeling and verification of distributed systems.
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