Lower Bound on the Step Complexity of Anonymous Binary Consensus
Obstruction-free consensus, ensuring that a process running solo will eventually terminate, is at the core of practical ways to solve consensus, e.g., by using randomization or failure detectors. An obstruction-free consensus algorithm may not terminate in many executions, but it must terminate whenever a process runs solo. Such an algorithm can be evaluated by its solo step complexity, which bounds the worst case number of steps taken by a process running alone, from any configuration, until it decides.
This paper presents a lower bound of \(\varOmega (\log n)\) on the solo step complexity of obstruction-free binary anonymous consensus. The proof constructs a sequence of executions in which more and more distinct variables are about to be written to, and then uses the backtracking covering technique to obtain a single execution in which many variables are accessed.
KeywordsSpace Complexity Shared Variable Failure Detector Consensus Algorithm Step Complexity
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