Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Algorithms

pp 1051-1055


Knowledge in Distributed Systems

  • Yoram MosesAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Email author 


Common knowledge Coordinated Attack Distributed computing Knowledge Knowledge gain Message chain Potential causality
  • 1984; Halpern, Moses

  • 1986; Chandy, Misra

Years and Authors of Summarized Original Work

Problem Definition

What is the role of knowledge in distributed computing?

Actions taken by a process in a distributed system can only be based on its local information or local knowledge. Indeed, in reasoning about distributed protocols, people often talk informally about what processes know about the state of the system and about the progress of the computation. Can the informal reasoning about knowledge in distributed and multi-agent systems be given a rigorous mathematical formulation, and what uses can this have?

Key Results

In [4] Halpern and Moses initiated a theory of knowledge in distributed systems. They suggested that states of knowledge ascribed to groups of processes, especially common knowledge, have an important role to play. Knowledge-based analysis of distributed protocols has generalized well-known results and enables the discovery of new ones. These include new efficient solutions to basi ...

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