Date: 28 May 2005

Towards a theory of replicated processing

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In the N-Modular Redundancy (NMR) approach, a computation is made reliable by executing it on several computers, and determining its results by a decision algorithm. This paper investigates a formal approach to the use of NMR in replicated distributed systems, for which it introduces a notion of correctness based on consistency with their non-replicated counterpart, and a local correctness criterion. We discuss how a replicated system component may be implemented by N base copies, a majority of which is non-faulty. The formal approach sheds light on the necessity of coordinating the copies and on the requirements they should satisfy; in particular the difficulty of replicating synchronous communication is pointed out. A practical approach is also briefly examined and shown to be consistent with the formal model.

Inside every replicated system there is a non-replicated system trying to get out.