Local management of a global resource in a communication network

Yehuda Afek, Baruch Awerbuch, Serge Plotkin, Michael Saks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper introduces a new distributed data object called Resource Controller that provides an abstraction for managing the consumption of a global resource in a distributed system. Examples of resources that may be managed by such an object include; number of messages sent, number of nodes participating in the protocol, and total CPU time consumed. The Resource Controller object is accessed through a procedure that can be invoked at any node in the network. Before consuming a unit of resource at some node, the controlled algorithm should invoke the procedure at this node, requesting a permit to consume a unit of the resource. The procedure returns either a permit or a rejection. The key characteristics of the Resource Controller object are the constraints that it imposes on the global resource consumption. An (M, E)-Controller guarantees that the total number of permits granted is at most M; it also ensures that, if a request is rejected, then at least M - W permits are eventually granted, even if no more requests are made after the rejected one. In this paper, we describe several message and space-efficient implementations of the Resource Controller object. In particular, we present an (M, W)-Controller whose message complexity is O(n log2n log(M/(W + 1)) where n is the total number of nodes. This is in contrast to the O(nM) message complexity of a fully centralized controller which maintains a global counter of the number of granted permits at some distinguished node and relays all the requests to that node.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the ACM
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


  • Algorithms
  • Diffusing computations
  • Distributed computation
  • Distributed network management
  • Resource management
  • Theory


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