Mutex-Based De-anonymization of an Anonymous Read/Write Memory

  • Emmanuel Godard
  • Damien Imbs
  • Michel RaynalEmail author
  • Gadi Taubenfeld
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11704)


Anonymous shared memory is a memory in which processes use different names for the same shared read/write register. As an example, a shared register named A by a process p and a shared register named B by another process q can correspond to the very same register X, and similarly for the names B at p and A at q which can correspond to the same register \(Y\ne X\). Hence, there is a permanent disagreement on the register names among the processes. This new notion of anonymity was recently introduced by G. Taubenfeld (PODC 2017), who presented several memory-anonymous algorithms and impossibility results.

This paper introduces a new problem, that consists in “de-anonymizing” an anonymous shared memory. To this end, it presents an algorithm that, starting with a shared memory made up of m anonymous read/write atomic registers (i.e., there is no a priori agreement on their names), allows each process to compute a local addressing mapping, such that all the processes agree on the names of each register. The proposed construction is based on an underlying deadlock-free mutex algorithm for \(n\ge 2\) processes (recently proposed in a paper co-authored by some of the authors of this paper), and consequently inherits its necessary and sufficient condition on the size m of the anonymous memory, namely m must belong to the set \(M(n)=\{m:~ \text{ such } \text{ that } \forall ~ \ell : 1<\ell \le n:~ \mathsf{{gcd}}(\ell ,m)=1\}\setminus \{1\}\). This algorithm, which is also symmetric in the sense process identities can only be compared by equality, requires the participation of all the processes; hence it can be part of the system initialization. Last but not least, the proposed algorithm has a noteworthy first-class property, namely, its simplicity.


Anonymity Anonymous shared memory Asynchronous system Atomic read/write register Concurrent algorithm Deadlock-freedom Local memory Mapping function Mutual exclusion Simplicity Synchronization 



This work was partially supported by the French ANR project DESCARTES (16-CE40-0023-03) devoted to layered and modular structures in distributed computing. The authors want to thank the referees for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel Godard
    • 1
  • Damien Imbs
    • 1
  • Michel Raynal
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Gadi Taubenfeld
    • 4
  1. 1.LISUniversité d’Aix-MarseilleMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Univ Rennes IRISARennesFrance
  3. 3.Department of ComputingPolytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong
  4. 4.The Interdisciplinary CenterHerzliyaIsrael

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