The Synchronization Power of Auditable Registers

Authors Hagit Attiya , Antonella Del Pozzo, Alessia Milani, Ulysse Pavloff , Alexandre Rapetti

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Author Details

Hagit Attiya
  • Technion, Haifa, Israel
Antonella Del Pozzo
  • Université Paris-Saclay, CEA, List, F-91120, Palaiseau, France
Alessia Milani
  • Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes, Aix-Marseille Université and CNRS, Marseille, France
Ulysse Pavloff
  • Université Paris-Saclay, CEA, List, F-91120, Palaiseau, France
Alexandre Rapetti
  • Aix-Marseille Université, Université Paris-Saclay, CEA, List, F-91120, Palaiseau, France

Cite AsGet BibTex

Hagit Attiya, Antonella Del Pozzo, Alessia Milani, Ulysse Pavloff, and Alexandre Rapetti. The Synchronization Power of Auditable Registers. In 27th International Conference on Principles of Distributed Systems (OPODIS 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 286, pp. 4:1-4:23, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2024)


Auditability allows to track all the read operations performed on a register. It abstracts the need of data owners to control access to their data, tracking who read which information. This work considers possible formalizations of auditing and their ramification for the possibility of providing it. The natural definition is to require a linearization of all write, read and audit operations together (atomic auditing). The paper shows that atomic auditing is a powerful tool, as it can be used to solve consensus. The number of processes that can solve consensus using atomic audit depends on the number of processes that can read or audit the register. If there is a single reader or a single auditor (the writer), then consensus can be solved among two processes. If multiple readers and auditors are possible, then consensus can be solved among the same number of processes. This means that strong synchronization primitives are needed to support atomic auditing. We give implementations of atomic audit when there are either multiple readers or multiple auditors (but not both) using primitives with consensus number 2 (swap and fetch&add). When there are multiple readers and multiple auditors, the implementation uses compare&swap. These findings motivate a weaker definition, in which audit operations are not linearized together with read and write operations (regular auditing). We prove that regular auditing can be implemented from ordinary reads and writes on atomic registers.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computing methodologies → Concurrent computing methodologies
  • Auditability
  • atomic register
  • fault tolerance
  • consensus number


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