Concurrent counting is harder than queuing

Costas Busch, Srikanta Tirthapura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We compare the complexities of two fundamental distributed coordination problems, distributed counting and distributed queuing, in a concurrent setting. In both distributed counting and queuing, processors in a distributed system issue operations which are organized into a total order. In counting, each participating processor receives the rank of its operation in the total order, where as in queuing, a processor receives the identity of its predecessor in the total order. Many coordination applications can be solved using either distributed counting or queuing, and it is useful to know which of counting or queuing is the easier problem. Our results show that concurrent counting is harder than concurrent queuing on a variety of processor interconnection topologies, including high and low diameter graphs. For all these topologies, we show that the concurrent delay complexity of a particular solution to queuing, the arrow protocol, is asymptotically smaller than a lower bound on the complexity of any solution to counting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3823-3833
Number of pages11
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 9 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributed algorithms
  • Distributed counting
  • Distributed data structures
  • Distributed queuing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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