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General Tasks and Extension-Based Proofs

by   Yusong Shi, et al.
Tsinghua University

The concept of extension-based proofs models the idea of a valency argument which is widely used in distributed computing. Extension-based proofs are limited in power: it has been shown that there is no extension-based proof of the impossibility of a wait-free protocol for (n,k)-set agreement among n > k ≥ 2 processes. A discussion of a restricted type of reduction has shown that there are no extension-based proofs of the impossibility of wait-free protocols for some other distributed computing problems. We extend the previous result to general reductions that allow multiple instances of tasks. The techniques used in the previous work are designed for certain tasks, such as the (n,k)-set agreement task. We give a necessary and sufficient condition for general colorless tasks to have no extension-based proofs of the impossibility of wait-free protocols, and show that different types of extension-based proof are equivalent in power for colorless tasks. Using this necessary and sufficient condition, the result about reductions can be understood from a topological perspective.


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