Byzantine Gathering in Polynomial Time

Authors Sébastien Bouchard, Yoann Dieudonné, Anissa Lamani

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Sébastien Bouchard
  • Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS, INRIA, LIP6 UMR 7606, Paris, France
Yoann Dieudonné
  • Laboratoire MIS & Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France
Anissa Lamani
  • Laboratoire MIS & Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France

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Sébastien Bouchard, Yoann Dieudonné, and Anissa Lamani. Byzantine Gathering in Polynomial Time. In 45th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 107, pp. 147:1-147:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


Gathering a group of mobile agents is a fundamental task in the field of distributed and mobile systems. This can be made drastically more difficult to achieve when some agents are subject to faults, especially the Byzantine ones that are known as being the worst faults to handle. In this paper we study, from a deterministic point of view, the task of Byzantine gathering in a network modeled as a graph. In other words, despite the presence of Byzantine agents, all the other (good) agents, starting from {possibly} different nodes and applying the same deterministic algorithm, have to meet at the same node in finite time and stop moving. An adversary chooses the initial nodes of the agents (the number of agents may be larger than the number of nodes) and assigns a different positive integer (called label) to each of them. Initially, each agent knows its label. The agents move in synchronous rounds and can communicate with each other only when located at the same node. Within the team, f of the agents are Byzantine. A Byzantine agent acts in an unpredictable and arbitrary way. For example, it can choose an arbitrary port when it moves, can convey arbitrary information to other agents and can change its label in every round, in particular by forging the label of another agent or by creating a completely new one. Besides its label, which corresponds to a local knowledge, an agent is assigned some global knowledge denoted by GK that is common to all agents. In literature, the Byzantine gathering problem has been analyzed in arbitrary n-node graphs by considering the scenario when GK=(n,f) and the scenario when GK=f. In the first (resp. second) scenario, it has been shown that the minimum number of good agents guaranteeing deterministic gathering of all of them is f+1 (resp. f+2). However, for both these scenarios, all the existing deterministic algorithms, whether or not they are optimal in terms of required number of good agents, have the major disadvantage of having a time complexity that is exponential in n and L, where L is the value of the largest label belonging to a good agent. In this paper, we seek to design a deterministic solution for Byzantine gathering that makes a concession on the proportion of Byzantine agents within the team, but that offers a significantly lower complexity. We also seek to use a global knowledge whose the length of the binary representation (that we also call size) is small. In this respect, assuming that the agents are in a strong team i.e., a team in which the number of good agents is at least some prescribed value that is quadratic in f, we give positive and negative results. On the positive side, we show an algorithm that solves Byzantine gathering with all strong teams in all graphs of size at most n, for any integers n and f, in a time polynomial in n and the length |l_{min}| of the binary representation of the smallest label of a good agent. The algorithm works using a global knowledge of size O(log log log n), which is of optimal order of magnitude in our context to reach a time complexity that is polynomial in n and |l_{min}|. Indeed, on the negative side, we show that there is no deterministic algorithm solving Byzantine gathering with all strong teams, in all graphs of size at most n, in a time polynomial in n and |l_{min}| and using a global knowledge of size o(log log log n).

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Distributed algorithms
  • Computing methodologies → Mobile agents
  • gathering
  • deterministic algorithm
  • mobile agent
  • Byzantine fault
  • polynomial time


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