Fast Distributed Computation in Dynamic Networks via Random Walks

Research paper by Atish Das Sarma, Anisur Rahaman Molla, Gopal Pandurangan

Indexed on: 24 May '12Published on: 24 May '12Published in: Computer Science - Distributed; Parallel; and Cluster Computing


The paper investigates efficient distributed computation in dynamic networks in which the network topology changes (arbitrarily) from round to round. Our first contribution is a rigorous framework for design and analysis of distributed random walk algorithms in dynamic networks. We then develop a fast distributed random walk based algorithm that runs in $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{\tau \Phi})$ rounds (with high probability), where $\tau$ is the dynamic mixing time and $\Phi$ is the dynamic diameter of the network respectively, and returns a sample close to a suitably defined stationary distribution of the dynamic network. We also apply our fast random walk algorithm to devise fast distributed algorithms for two key problems, namely, information dissemination and decentralized computation of spectral properties in a dynamic network. Our next contribution is a fast distributed algorithm for the fundamental problem of information dissemination (also called as gossip) in a dynamic network. In gossip, or more generally, $k$-gossip, there are $k$ pieces of information (or tokens) that are initially present in some nodes and the problem is to disseminate the $k$ tokens to all nodes. We present a random-walk based algorithm that runs in $\tilde{O}(\min\{n^{1/3}k^{2/3}(\tau \Phi)^{1/3}, nk\})$ rounds (with high probability). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first $o(nk)$-time fully-distributed token forwarding algorithm that improves over the previous-best $O(nk)$ round distributed algorithm [Kuhn et al., STOC 2010], although in an oblivious adversary model. Our final contribution is a simple and fast distributed algorithm for estimating the dynamic mixing time and related spectral properties of the underlying dynamic network.