A Combinatorial Characterization of Self-Stabilizing Population Protocols

10/08/2020 ∙ by Shaan Mathur, et al. ∙ 0

We fully characterize self-stabilizing functions in population protocols for complete interaction graphs. In particular, we investigate self-stabilization in systems of n finite state agents in which a malicious scheduler selects an arbitrary sequence of pairwise interactions under a global fairness condition. We show a necessary and sufficient condition for self-stabilization. Specifically we show that functions without certain set-theoretic conditions are impossible to compute in a self-stabilizing manner. Our main contribution is in the converse, where we construct a self-stabilizing protocol for all other functions that meet this characterization. Our positive construction uses Dickson's Lemma to develop the notion of the root set, a concept that turns out to fundamentally characterize self-stabilization in this model. We believe it may lend to characterizing self-stabilization in more general models as well.

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