Distributed Computing

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 75–97 | Cite as

A leader election algorithm for dynamic networks with causal clocks

  • Rebecca Ingram
  • Tsvetomira Radeva
  • Patrick Shields
  • Saira Viqar
  • Jennifer E. Walter
  • Jennifer L. Welch


An algorithm for electing a leader in an asynchronous network with dynamically changing communication topology is presented. The algorithm ensures that, no matter what pattern of topology changes occurs, if topology changes cease, then eventually every connected component contains a unique leader. The algorithm combines ideas from the Temporally Ordered Routing Algorithm for mobile ad hoc networks (Park and Corson in Proceedings of the 16th IEEE Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM), pp. 1405–1413 (1997) with a wave algorithm (Tel in Introduction to distributed algorithms, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2000), all within the framework of a height-based mechanism for reversing the logical direction of communication topology links (Gafni and Bertsekas in IEEE Trans Commun C–29(1), 11–18 1981). Moreover, a generic representation of time is used, which can be implemented using totally-ordered values that preserve the causality of events, such as logical clocks and perfect clocks. A correctness proof for the algorithm is provided, and it is ensured that in certain well-behaved situations, a new leader is not elected unnecessarily, that is, the algorithm satisfies a stability condition.


Distributed algorithms Leader election Link reversal Dynamic networks 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Ingram
    • 1
  • Tsvetomira Radeva
    • 2
  • Patrick Shields
    • 3
  • Saira Viqar
    • 4
  • Jennifer E. Walter
    • 3
  • Jennifer L. Welch
    • 4
  1. 1.Trinity UniversitySan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Vassar CollegePoughkeepsieUSA
  4. 4.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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