Gradient Clock Synchronization in Dynamic Networks

Fabian Kuhn, Thomas Locher, Rotem Oshman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last years, large-scale decentralized computer networks such as peer-to-peer and mobile ad hoc networks have become increasingly prevalent. The topologies of many of these networks are often highly dynamic. This is especially true for ad hoc networks formed by mobile wireless devices. In this paper, we study the fundamental problem of clock synchronization in dynamic networks. We show that there is an inherent trade-off between the skew S guaranteed along sufficiently old links and the time needed to guarantee a small skew along new links: for any sufficiently large initial skew on a new link, there are executions in which the time required to reduce the skew on the link to O(S) is at least Ω(n/s). We show that this bound is tight for moderately small values of S. Assuming a fixed set of n nodes, an arbitrary pattern of edge insertions and removals, and a weak dynamic connectivity requirement, we present an algorithm that always maintains a skew of O(n) between any two nodes in the network. For a parameter, where ρ is the maximum hardware clock drift, it is further guaranteed that if a communication link between two nodes u,v persists in the network for Θ(n/s) time, the clock skew between u and v is reduced to no more than O(S).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-816
Number of pages36
JournalTheory of Computing Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributed algorithms
  • Dynamic networks
  • Gradient clock synchronization
  • Lower bound


Dive into the research topics of 'Gradient Clock Synchronization in Dynamic Networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this