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Stabilizing communication protocols

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2 Author(s)
Gouda, M.G. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Texas Univ., Austin, TX, USA ; Multari, N.J.

A communication protocol is stabilizing if and only if starting from any unsafe state (i.e. one that violates the intended invariant of the protocol), the protocol is guaranteed to converge to a safe state within a finite number of state transitions. Stabilization allows the processes in a protocol to reestablish coordination between one another whenever coordination is lost due to some failure. The authors identify some important characteristics of stabilizing protocols; they show in particular that a stabilizing protocol is nonterminating, has an infinite number of safe states, and has timeout actions. They also propose a formal method for proving protocol stabilization: in order to prove that a given protocol is stabilizing, it is sufficient (and necessary) to exhibit and verify what is called a `convergence stair' for the protocol. Finally, they discuss how to redesign a number of well-known protocols to make them stabilizing; these include the sliding-window protocol and the two-way handshake

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Computers, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 4 )