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Fault-Tolerant Consensus with an Abstract MAC Layer

Authors Calvin Newport, Peter Robinson



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Author Details

Calvin Newport
  • Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., USA
Peter Robinson
  • McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

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Calvin Newport and Peter Robinson. Fault-Tolerant Consensus with an Abstract MAC Layer. In 32nd International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 121, pp. 38:1-38:20, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.DISC.2018.38

Abstract

In this paper, we study fault-tolerant distributed consensus in wireless systems. In more detail, we produce two new randomized algorithms that solve this problem in the abstract MAC layer model, which captures the basic interface and communication guarantees provided by most wireless MAC layers. Our algorithms work for any number of failures, require no advance knowledge of the network participants or network size, and guarantee termination with high probability after a number of broadcasts that are polynomial in the network size. Our first algorithm satisfies the standard agreement property, while our second trades a faster termination guarantee in exchange for a looser agreement property in which most nodes agree on the same value. These are the first known fault-tolerant consensus algorithms for this model. In addition to our main upper bound results, we explore the gap between the abstract MAC layer and the standard asynchronous message passing model by proving fault-tolerant consensus is impossible in the latter in the absence of information regarding the network participants, even if we assume no faults, allow randomized solutions, and provide the algorithm a constant-factor approximation of the network size.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Distributed algorithms
Keywords
  • abstract MAC layer
  • wireless networks
  • consensus
  • fault tolerance

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