Selecting a leader in a network of finite state machines

Yehuda Afek, Yuval Emek, Noa Kolikant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper studies a variant of the leader election problem under the stone age model (Emek and Wattenhofer, PODC 2013) that considers a network of n randomized finite automata with very weak communication capabilities (a multi-frequency asynchronous generalization of the beeping model’s communication scheme). Since solving the classic leader election problem is impossible even in more powerful models, we consider a relaxed variant, referred to as k-leader selection, in which a leader should be selected out of at most k initial candidates. Our main contribution is an algorithm that solves k-leader selection for bounded k in the aforementioned stone age model. On (general topology) graphs of diameter D, this algorithm runs in Õ(D) time and succeeds with high probability. The assumption that k is bounded turns out to be unavoidable: we prove that if k = ω(1), then no algorithm in this model can solve k-leader selection with a (positive) constant probability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication32nd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2018
EditorsUlrich Schmid, Josef Widder
PublisherSchloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz-Zentrum fur Informatik GmbH, Dagstuhl Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783959770927
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018
Event32nd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2018 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 15 Oct 201819 Oct 2018

Publication series

NameLeibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs
ISSN (Print)1868-8969


Conference32nd International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans


  • And phrases stone age model
  • Asynchronous scheduler
  • Beeping communication scheme
  • Kleader selection
  • Leader election
  • Randomized finite state machines


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