A distributed system (DS) is a collection of autonomous computing sites that neither share a common memory nor a global clock, nor communicate solely by exchanging messages.
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When processes interact through shared resources (Critical Section), the integrity of the resources may be violated if the accesses are not coordinated.
In a single-computer system, the status of a shared resource and the status of users are readily available in the shared memory, and solutions to the mutual exclusion problem can be easily implemented using shared variables (e.g., semaphores). However, in distributed systems, both the shared resources and the users may be distributed and shared memory does not exist. Consequently, approaches based on shared variables are not applicable to distributed systems and approaches based on message passing must be used.
The mutual exclusion problem requires that, at a time, only one of the contending processes be allowed to enter its critical section (CS). Mutual exclusion plays an important role in developing designing distributed systems. Problems like replicated data, atomic commitment, distributed shared memory etc. require mutual exclusion. Mutual exclusion is also required in some systems where there is no sharing but the events happening in a system should be mutually exclusion.
Due to the nature of a distributed environment, many failures can occur. These can take place either in a channel or in a node, or in both or sometimes network partitions may also happen. A mutual exclusion algorithm is fault-tolerant if in the wake of a failure, it can organize itself so that it continues to function without any disruptions.
There are some algorithms existing to solve the mutual exclusion problem in distributed systems. Like priority based mutual exclusion algorithm, Quorum based distributed mutual exclusion algorithm and Asynchronous Group Mutual Exclusion. A priority based mutual exclusion algorithm useful in group mutual exclusion problem.
First I make a brief survey of a few existing fault-tolerant ME algorithms along with their characteristics and performance measures. Based on the survey, I choose one of the available algorithms and analysis its behavior. Finally, I propose a ME algorithm which is a modification over the available algorithms.
Abstract: Mutual exclusion (ME) problem in distributed systems has attracted considerable attention over the last two decades. The ME problem requires that, at a time, only one of the contending processes be allowed to enter its critical section (CS). A number of solutions have been proposed for the mutual exclusion problem in distributed systems. These algorithms can broadly be classified as token-based and permission-based algorithms. The matrices that are generally used to compare their performances are message complexity and synchronization delay.
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