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Published August 1985 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

How processes learn


Processes in distributed systems communicate with one another exclusively by sending and receiving messages. A process has access to its state but not to the states of other processes. Many distributed algorithms require that a process determine facts about the overall system computation. In anthropomorphic terms, processes "learn" about states of other process in the evolution of system computation. This paper is concerned with how processes learn. We give a precise characterization of the minimum information flow necessary for a process to determine specific facts about the system.

Additional Information

© 1985 ACM. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Office of Naval Research under N00014-85-K-0057. We are indebted to Shmuel Katz, Joe Halpern, E.W. Dijkstra and Bengt Jonsson for their comments. Particular thanks go to Ernie Cohen for a careful reading of the manuscript and insightful comments.

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