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Distributed Systems

Almost every computing system nowadays is distributed, ranging from multi-core laptops to Internet-scale services; understanding the principles of distributed computing is hence important for the design and engineering of modern computing systems.  Fundamental issues that arise in reliable and efficient distributed systems include developing adequate methods for modeling failures and synchrony assumptions, determining precise performance bounds on implementations of concurrent data structures, capturing the trade-off between consistency and efficiency, and demarcating the frontier of feasibility in distributed computing.

For example, popular Internet services and applications such as CNN.com, YouTube, Facebook, Skype, BitTorrent attract millions of users every day, and only by the effective load-balancing and collaboration of many thousand machines, an acceptable Quality-of-Service/Quality-of-Experience can be guaranteed. While distributed systems promise a good scalability as well as a high robustness, they pose challenging research problems, such as: How to design robust and scalable distributed architectures and services? How to coordinate access to a shared resource, e.g., by electing a leader? Or how to provide incentives for cooperation in an open, collaborative distributed system?

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Selected Publications

Distributed Computation of the Mode
Zitatschlüssel KLS-DCM-08
Autor Fabian Kuhn and Thomas Locher and Schmid, Stefan
Buchtitel 27th ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC)
Seiten 15–24
Jahr 2008
ISBN 978-1-59593-989-0
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1400751.1400756
Ort Toronto, Canada
Monat August
Zusammenfassung This paper studies the problem of computing the most frequent element (the mode) by means of a distributed algorithm where the elements are located at the nodes of a network. Let k denote the number of distinct elements and further let m_i be the number of occurrences of the element e_i in the ordered list of occurrences m_1>m_2>=...>=m_k. We give a deterministic distributed algorithm with time complexity O(D+k) where D denotes the diameter of the graph, which is essentially tight. As our main contribution, a Monte Carlo algorithm is presented which computes the mode in O(D + F_2/m_1^2 log k) time with high probability, where the frequency moment F_l is defined as F_l = Sum_(i=1)^k m_i^l. This algorithm is substantially faster than the deterministic algorithm for various relevant frequency distributions. Moreover, we provide a lower bound of Ω(D + F_5/(m_1^5 B)), where B is the maximum message size, that captures the eect of the frequency distribution on the time complexity to compute the mode.
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