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Causal Broadcast: How to Forget?

Authors Brice Nédelec, Pascal Molli, Achour Mostéfaoui

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Brice Nédelec
  • LS2N, University of Nantes, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France
Pascal Molli
  • LS2N, University of Nantes, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France
Achour Mostéfaoui
  • LS2N, University of Nantes, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France

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Brice Nédelec, Pascal Molli, and Achour Mostéfaoui. Causal Broadcast: How to Forget?. In 22nd International Conference on Principles of Distributed Systems (OPODIS 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 125, pp. 20:1-20:16, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Causal broadcast constitutes a fundamental communication primitive of many distributed protocols and applications. However, state-of-the-art implementations fail to forget obsolete control information about already delivered messages. They do not scale in large and dynamic systems. In this paper, we propose a novel implementation of causal broadcast. We prove that all and only obsolete control information is safely removed, at cost of a few lightweight control messages. The local space complexity of this protocol does not monotonically increase and depends at each moment on the number of messages still in transit and the degree of the communication graph. Moreover, messages only carry a scalar clock. Our implementation constitutes a sustainable communication primitive for causal broadcast in large and dynamic systems.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computer systems organization → Peer-to-peer architectures
  • Causal broadcast
  • complexity trade-off
  • large and dynamic systems


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