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Detection of weak unstable predicates in distributed programs

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2 Author(s)
Garg, V.K. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Texas Univ., Austin, TX, USA ; Waldecker, B.

This paper discusses detection of global predicates in a distributed program. Earlier algorithms for detection of global predicates proposed by Chandy and Lamport (1985) work only for stable predicates. A predicate is stable if it does not turn false once it becomes true. Our algorithms detect even unstable predicates, without excessive overhead. In the past, such predicates have been regarded as too difficult to detect. The predicates are specified by using a logic described formally in this paper. We discuss detection of weak conjunctive predicates that are formed by conjunction of predicates local to processes in the system. Our detection methods will detect whether such a predicate is true for any interleaving of events in the system, regardless of whether the predicate is stable. Also, any predicate that can be reduced to a set of weak conjunctive predicates is detectable. This class of predicates captures many global predicates that are of interest to a programmer. The message complexity of our algorithm is bounded by the number of messages used by the program. The main applications of our results are in debugging and testing of distributed programs. Our algorithms have been incorporated in a distributed debugger that runs on a network of Sun workstations in UNIX

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Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 3 )