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A distributed application that operates in an ad hoc network formed by mobile nodes must limit its use of all-to-all communication since the overall capacity of such a network is severely constrained. To address this problem, we describe an algorithm that allows an application to impose a hierarchical structure on the participating nodes. A simple tree is maintained as hosts join and leave the ad hoc network. We evaluate this algorithm in the context of a collaboration tool for a network of Linux laptops using IEEE 802.11b network cards. Preliminary performance results from our mobile test-bed indicate that the application responds well to connectivity changes and is sufficiently agile to run in a highly mobile environment.