Gradient clock synchronization in dynamic networks

Fabian Kuhn, Thomas Locher, Rotem Oshman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-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 and an arbitrary pattern of edge insertions and removals, a weak dynamic connectivity requirement suffices to prove the following results. We present an algorithm that always maintains a skew of O(n) between any two nodes in the network. For a parameter S = Ω(√ρn), 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
Title of host publicationSPAA'09 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event21st Annual Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures, SPAA'09 - Calgary, AB, Canada
Duration: 11 Aug 200913 Aug 2009

Publication series

NameAnnual ACM Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures


Conference21st Annual Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures, SPAA'09
CityCalgary, AB


  • Clock synchronization
  • Distributed algorithms
  • Dynamic networks


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