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Perfect failure detection in timed asynchronous systems

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1 Author(s)
Fetzer, C. ; AT&T Labs., Florham Park, NJ, USA

Perfect failure detectors can correctly decide whether a computer is crashed. However, it is impossible to implement a perfect failure detector in purely asynchronous systems. We show how to enforce perfect failure detection in timed asynchronous systems with hardware watchdogs. The two main system model assumptions are: 1) each computer can measure time intervals with a known maximum error and 2) each computer has a watchdog that crashes the computer unless the watchdog is periodically updated. We have implemented a system that satisfies both assumptions using a combination of off-the-shelf software and hardware. To implement a perfect failure detector for process crash failures, we show that, in some systems, a hardware watchdog is actually not necessary.

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Computers, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:52 ,  Issue: 2 )