An Efficient and Fault-Tolerant Solution for Distributed Mutual Exclusion

Divyakant Agrawal, Amr El Abbadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

221 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present an efficient and fault-tolerant algorithm for generating quorums to solve the distributed mutual exclusion problem. The algorithm uses a logical tree organization of the network to generate tree quorums, which are logarithmic in the size of the network in the best case. Our approach is resilient to both site and communication failures, even when such failures lead to network partitioning. Furthermore, the algorithm exhibits a property of graceful degradation, i.e., it requires more messages only as the number of failures increase in the network. We describe how tree quorums can be used for various distributed applications for providing mutually exclusive access to a distributed resource, managing replicated objects, and atomically commiting a distributed transaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalACM Transactions on Computer Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)

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