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2006 Technical Reports

The Anonymous Consensus Hierarchy and Naming Problems

Eric Ruppert

Technical Report CSE-2006-11

York University

December 29, 2006


This paper investigates whether the assumption of unique identifiers is essential for wait-free distributed computing using shared objects of various types. Algorithms where all processes are programmed identically and do not use unique identifiers are called anonymous. A variety of results are given about the anonymous solvability of two key problems, consensus and naming, in systems of various sizes. These problems are used to define measures of a type T's power to solve problems anonymously. These measures provide a significant amount of information about whether anonymous implementations of one type from another are possible. We compare these measures with one other and with the consensus numbers defined by Herlihy.

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