Threshold counters with increments and decrements

Costas Busch, Neophytos Demetriou, Maurice Herlihy, Marios Mavronicolas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A threshold counter is a shared data structure that assumes integer values. It provides two operations: Increment changes the current counter value from v to v+1, while Read returns the value [v/w], where v is the current counter value and w is a fixed constant. Thus, the Read operation returns the "approximate" value of the counter to within the constant w. Threshold counters have many potential uses, including software barrier synchronization. Threshold networks are a class of distributed data structures that can be used to construct highly-concurrent, low-contention implementations of shared threshold counters. In this paper, we give the first proof that any threshold network construction of a threshold counter can be extended to support a Decrement operation that changes the counter value from v to v-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-826
Number of pages16
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 6 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Decrements
  • Distributed computing
  • Increments
  • Threshold and weak threshold networks
  • Threshold counters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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