The F-Snapshot Problem
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Aguilera, Gafni and Lamport introduced the signaling problem in . In this problem, two processes numbered 0 and 1 can call two procedures: update and Fscan. A parameter of the problem is a two-variable function \(F(x_0,x_1)\). Each process \(p_i\) can assign values to variable \(x_i\) by calling update(v) with some data value v, and compute the value: \(F(x_0,x_1)\) by executing an Fscan procedure. The problem is interesting when the domain of F is infinite and the range of F is finite. In this case, some “access restrictions” are imposed that limit the size of the registers that the Fscan procedure can access.
Aguilera et al. provided a non-blocking solution and asked whether a wait-free solution exists. A positive answer can be found in . The natural generalization of the two-process signaling problem to an arbitrary number of processes turns out to yield an interesting generalization of the fundamental snapshot problem, which we call the F-snapshot problem. In this problem n processes can write values to an n-segment array (each process to its own segment), and can read and obtain the value of an n-variable function F on the array of segments. In case that the range of F is finite, it is required that only bounded registers are accessed when the processes apply the function F to the array, although the data values written to the segments may be taken from an infinite set. We provide here an affirmative answer to the question of Aguilera et al. for an arbitrary number of processes. Our solution employs only single-writer atomic registers, and its time complexity is \(O(n\log n)\).
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