The thesis investigates the problem of fau … The thesis investigates the problem of fault- and intrusion-tolerant consensus
in resource-constrained wireless ad hoc networks. This is a fundamental
problem in distributed computing because it abstracts the need
to coordinate activities among various nodes. It has been shown to be a
building block for several other important distributed computing problems
like state-machine replication and atomic broadcast.
The thesis begins by making a thorough performance assessment of existing
intrusion-tolerant consensus protocols, which shows that the performance
bottlenecks of current solutions are in part related to their system
modeling assumptions. Based on these results, the communication failure
model is identified as a model that simultaneously captures the reality
of wireless ad hoc networks and allows the design of efficient protocols.
Unfortunately, the model is subject to an impossibility result stating that
there is no deterministic algorithm that allows n nodes to reach agreement
if more than n2 omission transmission failures can occur in a communication
step. This result is valid even under strict timing assumptions (i.e.,
a synchronous system).
The thesis applies randomization techniques in increasingly weaker variants
of this model, until an efficient intrusion-tolerant consensus protocol
is achieved. The first variant simplifies the problem by restricting the
number of nodes that may be at the source of a transmission failure at
each communication step. An algorithm is designed that tolerates f dynamic
nodes at the source of faulty transmissions in a system with a total of
n � 3f + 1 nodes.
The second variant imposes no restrictions on the pattern of transmission
failures. The proposed algorithm effectively circumvents the Santoro-
Widmayer impossibility result for the first time. It allows k out of n nodes to decide despite � � dn
2 e(nk)+k2 omission failures per communication
step. This algorithm also has the interesting property of guaranteeing
safety during arbitrary periods of unrestricted message loss.
The final variant shares the same properties of the previous one, but relaxes
the model in the sense that the system is asynchronous and that a
static subset of nodes may be malicious. The obtained algorithm, called
Turquois, admits f < n
3 malicious nodes, and ensures progress in communication
steps where � � dnf
2 e(n k f) + k 2. The algorithm is
subject to a comparative performance evaluation against other intrusion tolerant
protocols. The results show that, as the system scales, Turquois
outperforms the other protocols by more than an order of magnitude. tocols by more than an order of magnitude.