Distributed Algorithms: An Intuitive Approach (MIT Press)
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A comprehensive guide to distributed algorithms that emphasizes examples and exercises rather than mathematical argumentation.
This book offers students and researchers a guide to distributed algorithms that emphasizes examples and exercises rather than the intricacies of mathematical models. It avoids mathematical argumentation, often a stumbling block for students, teaching algorithmic thought rather than proofs and logic. This approach allows the student to learn a large number of algorithms within a relatively short span of time. Algorithms are explained through brief, informal descriptions, illuminating examples, and practical exercises. The examples and exercises allow readers to understand algorithms intuitively and from different perspectives. Proof sketches, arguing the correctness of an algorithm or explaining the idea behind fundamental results, are also included. An appendix offers pseudocode descriptions of many algorithms.
Distributed algorithms are performed by a collection of computers that send messages to each other or by multiple software threads that use the same shared memory. The algorithms presented in the book are for the most part "classics," selected because they shed light on the algorithmic design of distributed systems or on key issues in distributed computing and concurrent programming.
Distributed Algorithms can be used in courses for upper-level undergraduates or graduate students in computer science, or as a reference for researchers in the field.
I am always fascinated by distributed processes. How can we design algorithms or protocols for them that work? Fokkink gives a unique introduction to the many original concepts and methods in distributed computing that we know today. A truly insightful book.(Jan van Leeuwen, Utrecht University)
An original and thought-provoking new approach to teaching distributed algorithms.(Maurice Herlihy, Brown University)
About the Author
Wan Fokkink is Professor of Theoretical Computer Science at the VU University, Amsterdam.
Most helpful customer reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful.
Many of the algorithms given in the book assume ... messages are not lost and nodes do not die...
By Marton Trencseni
Review based on the first 7 chapters.
The book skips proofs and just explains why the algorithms work, often with examples and pictures. This I like very much.
Caveat: Many of the algorithms given in the book assume a model of distributed computation where messages are not lost and nodes (processes) do not die. In other words, many of these algorithms are not applicable in modern Google-style shared-nothing distributed computing, where you have 1000s of components in a datacenter, and at any one time, a number of them will be failing or unreachable. These are algorithms for multiple processes (processors) in a single computer, where message passing is reliable and processes don't randomly die. That's fine, but I wish the book's title or description would have been clear about this.
Since most of my past readings were in algorithms that work in the case of failures and message loss (like Paxos) I did find the book educational.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
Recommended for anyone interested in algorithms
Recommended for anyone interested in algorithms. Author has clearly put a lot of effort into making his explanations understandable. Make no mistake though, it's very dense material. Take it slow and enjoy. Good exercises for checking to see that you understand as much as you think you do. Paper and binding is excellent quality, feels good in my hands. Don't miss the algorithm listing in the back.