Brief Announcement: On the Impossibility of Detecting Concurrency

Authors Éric Goubault, Jérémy Ledent, Samuel Mimram

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Éric Goubault
  • École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France
Jérémy Ledent
  • École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France
Samuel Mimram
  • École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France

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Éric Goubault, Jérémy Ledent, and Samuel Mimram. Brief Announcement: On the Impossibility of Detecting Concurrency. In 32nd International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 121, pp. 50:1-50:4, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


We identify a general principle of distributed computing: one cannot force two processes running in parallel to see each other. This principle is formally stated in the context of asynchronous processes communicating through shared objects, using trace-based semantics. We prove that it holds in a reasonable computational model, and then study the class of concurrent specifications which satisfy this property. This allows us to derive a Galois connection theorem for different variants of linearizability.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Concurrency
  • concurrent specification
  • concurrent object
  • linearizability


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