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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

A Robust Interference Model for Wireless Ad-Hoc Networks
Citation key RSWZ-RIMWAN-05
Author von Rickenbach, Pascal and Schmid, Stefan and Wattenhofer, Roger and Zollinger, Aaron
Title of Book 5th International Workshop on Algorithms for Wireless, Mobile, Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks (WMAN)
Pages 1–8
Year 2005
ISBN 0-7695-2312-9
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/IPDPS.2005.65
Location Denver, Colorado, USA
Month April
Abstract Among the foremost goals of topology control in wireless ad-hoc networks is interference reduction. This paper presents a receiver-centric interference model featuring two main advantages over previous work. First, it reflects the fact that interference occurs at the intended receiver of a message. Second, the presented interference measure is robust with respect to addition or removal of single network nodes. Regarding both of these aspects our model intuitively corresponds to the behavior of interference in reality. Based on this interference model, we show that currently known topology control algorithms poorly reduce interference. Motivated by the observation that already one-dimensional network instances display the intricacy of the considered problem, we continue to focus on the so-called highway model. Setting out to analyze the special case of the exponential node chain, we eventually describe an algorithm guaranteeing to achieve a &nthroot;Δ-approximation (where n=4) of the optimal connectivity-preserving topology in the general highway model.
Link to publication Download Bibtex entry

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