Probabilistic methods for distributed information dissemination
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Jonathan Kelner, Muriel Médard and David Karger.
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The ever-increasing growth of modern networks comes with a paradigm shift in network operation. Networks can no longer be abstracted as deterministic, centrally controlled systems with static topologies but need to be understood as highly distributed, dynamic systems with inherent unreliabilities. This makes many communication, coordination and computation tasks challenging and in many scenarios communication becomes a crucial bottleneck. In this thesis, we develop new algorithms and techniques to address these challenges. In particular we concentrate on broadcast and information dissemination tasks and introduce novel ideas on how randomization can lead to powerful, simple and practical communication primitives suitable for these modern networks. In this endeavor we combine and further develop tools from different disciplines trying to simultaneously addresses the distributed, information theoretic and algorithmic aspects of network communication. The two main probabilistic techniques developed to disseminate information in a network are gossip and random linear network coding. Gossip is an alternative to classical flooding approaches: Instead of nodes repeatedly forwarding information to all their neighbors, gossiping nodes forward information only to a small number of (random) neighbors. We show that, when done right, gossip disperses information almost as quickly as flooding, albeit with a drastically reduced communication overhead. Random linear network coding (RLNC) applies when a large amount of information or many messages are to be disseminated. Instead of routing messages through intermediate nodes, that is, following a classical store-and-forward approach, RLNC mixes messages together by forwarding random linear combinations of messages. The simplicity and topology-obliviousness of this approach makes RLNC particularly interesting for the distributed settings considered in this thesis. Unfortunately the performance of RLNC was not well understood even for the simplest such settings. We introduce a simple yet powerful analysis technique that allows us to prove optimal performance guarantees for all settings considered in the literature and many more that were not analyzable so far. Specifically, we give many new results for RLNC gossip algorithms, RLNC algorithms for dynamic networks, and RLNC with correlated data. We also provide a novel highly efficient distributed implementation of RLNC that achieves these performance guarantees while buffering only a minimal amount of information at intermediate nodes. We then apply our techniques to improve communication primitives in multi-hop radio networks. While radio networks inherently support broadcast communications, e.g., from one node to all surrounding nodes, interference of simultaneous transmissions makes multihop broadcast communication an interesting challenge. We show that, again, randomization holds the key for obtaining simple, efficient and distributed information dissemination protocols. In particular, using random back-off strategies to coordinate access to the shared medium leads to optimal gossip-like communications and applying RLNC achieves the first throughput-optimal multi-message communication primitives. Lastly we apply our probabilistic approach for analyzing simple, distributed propagation protocols in a broader context by studying algorithms for the Lovász Local Lemma. These algorithms find solutions to certain local constraint satisfaction problems by randomly fixing and propagating violations locally. Our two main results show that, firstly, there are also efficient deterministic propagation strategies achieving the same and, secondly, using the random fixing strategy has the advantage of producing not just an arbitrary solution but an approximately uniformly random one. Both results lead to simple, constructions for a many locally consistent structures of interest that were not known to be efficiently constructable before.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 457-484).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.