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Durham University

Computer Science


Publication details for Dr George Mertzios

Mertzios, G.B., Nikoletseas, S.E., Raptopoulos, C.L. & Spirakis, P.G. (2017). Determining majority in networks with local interactions and very small local memory. Distributed Computing 30(1): 1-16.

Author(s) from Durham


We study the problem of determining the majority type in an arbitrary connected network, each vertex of which has initially two possible types. The vertices may later change into other types, out of a set of a few additional possible types, and can interact in pairs only if they share an edge. Any (population) protocol is required to stabilize in the initial majority. First we prove that there does not exist any population protocol that always computes majority in any interaction graph by using at most 3 types per vertex. However this does not rule out the existence of a protocol with 3 types per vertex that is correct with high probability (whp). To this end, we examine an elegant and very natural majority protocol with 3 types per vertex, introduced in Angluin et al. (Distrib. Computing 21(2):87–102, 2008), whose performance has been analyzed for the clique graph. In particular, we study the performance of this protocol in arbitrary networks, under the probabilistic scheduler. We prove that, if the initial assignement of types to vertices is random, the protocol of Angluin et al. (Distrib. Computing 21(2):87–102, 2008) converges to the initial majority with probability higher than the probability of converging to the initial minority. In contrast, we show that the resistance of the protocol to failure when the underlying graph is a clique causes the failure of the protocol in general graphs.