Self-Stabilizing Clock Synchronization in Dynamic Networks

Authors Bernadette Charron-Bost, Louis Penet de Monterno

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Author Details

Bernadette Charron-Bost
  • DI ENS, École Normale Supérieure, 75005 Paris, France
Louis Penet de Monterno
  • École polytechnique, IP Paris, 91128 Palaiseau, France


We would like to thank Patrick Lambein-Monette, Stephan Merz, and Guillaume Prémel for very useful discussions. We are also indebted to Paolo Boldi and Sebastiano Vigna for their deep and inspiring work on self-stabilization.

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Bernadette Charron-Bost and Louis Penet de Monterno. Self-Stabilizing Clock Synchronization in Dynamic Networks. In 26th International Conference on Principles of Distributed Systems (OPODIS 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 253, pp. 28:1-28:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


We consider the fundamental problem of periodic clock synchronization in a synchronous multi-agent system. Each agent holds a clock with an arbitrary initial value, and clocks must eventually be congruent, modulo some positive integer P. Previous algorithms worked in static networks with drastic connectivity properties and assumed that global informations are available at each node. In this paper, we propose a finite-state algorithm for time-varying topologies that does not require any global knowledge on the network. The only assumption is the existence of some integer D such that any two nodes can communicate in each sequence of D consecutive rounds, which extends the notion of strong connectivity in static network to dynamic communication patterns. The smallest such D is called the dynamic diameter of the network. If an upper bound on the diameter is provided, then our algorithm achieves synchronization within 3D rounds, whatever the value of the upper bound. Otherwise, using an adaptive mechanism, synchronization is achieved with little performance overhead. Our algorithm is parameterized by a function g, which can be tuned to favor either time or space complexity. Then, we explore a further relaxation of the connectivity requirement: our algorithm still works if there exists a positive integer R such that the network is rooted over each sequence of R consecutive rounds, and if eventually the set of roots is stable. In particular, it works in any rooted static network.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Distributed algorithms
  • Theory of computation → Dynamic graph algorithms
  • Self-stabilization
  • Clock synchronization
  • Dynamic networks


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