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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?

Selected Publications

Manipulation in Games
Citation key EOSW-MIG-07
Author Eidenbenz, Raphael and Oswald, Yvonne Anne and Schmid, Stefan and Wattenhofer, Roger
Title of Book 18th International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC)
Pages 365–376
Year 2007
ISBN 978-3-540-77118-0
ISSN 0302-9743
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-77120-3_33
Location Sendai, Japan
Address Berlin / Heidelberg, Germany
Volume 4835
Month December
Publisher Springer
Series Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)
Abstract This paper studies to which extent the social welfare of a game can be influenced by an interested third party within economic reason, i.e., by taking the implementation cost into account. Besides considering classic, benevolent mechanism designers, we also analyze malicious mechanism designers. For instance, this paper shows that a malicious mechanism designer can often corrupt games and worsen the players' situation to a larger extent than the amount of money invested. Surprisingly, no money is needed at all in some cases. We provide algorithms for finding the so-called leverage in games and show that for optimistic mechanism designers, computing the leverage or approximations thereof is NP-hard.
Link to publication Download Bibtex entry

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