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Continuous Tasks and the Asynchronous Computability Theorem

Authors Hugo Rincon Galeana , Sergio Rajsbaum , Ulrich Schmid



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Author Details

Hugo Rincon Galeana
  • Embedded Computing Systems Group TU Wien, Austria
Sergio Rajsbaum
  • UNAM, Instituto de Matemáticas, Mexico City, Mexico
Ulrich Schmid
  • Embedded Computing Systems Group TU Wien, Austria

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Hugo Rincon Galeana, Sergio Rajsbaum, and Ulrich Schmid. Continuous Tasks and the Asynchronous Computability Theorem. In 13th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 215, pp. 73:1-73:27, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2022.73

Abstract

The celebrated 1999 Asynchronous Computability Theorem (ACT) of Herlihy and Shavit characterized distributed tasks that are wait-free solvable and uncovered deep connections with combinatorial topology. We provide an alternative characterization of those tasks by means of the novel concept of continuous tasks, which have an input/output specification that is a continuous function between the geometric realizations of the input and output complex: We state and prove a precise characterization theorem (CACT) for wait-free solvable tasks in terms of continuous tasks. Its proof utilizes a novel chromatic version of a foundational result in algebraic topology, the simplicial approximation theorem, which is also proved in this paper. Apart from the alternative proof of the ACT implied by our CACT, we also demonstrate that continuous tasks have an expressive power that goes beyond classic task specifications, and hence open up a promising venue for future research: For the well-known approximate agreement task, we show that one can easily encode the desired proportion of the occurrence of specific outputs, namely, exact agreement, in the continuous task specification.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Distributed computing models
  • Mathematics of computing → Hypergraphs
Keywords
  • Wait-free computability
  • topology
  • distributed computing
  • decision tasks
  • shared memory

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