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Developing a Consensus Algorithm Using Stepwise Refinement

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jeremy Bryans


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Consensus problems arise in any area of computing where distributed processes must come to a joint decision. Although solutions to consensus problems have similar aims, they vary according to the processor faults and network properties that must be taken into account, and modifying these assumptions will lead to different algorithms. Reasoning about consensus protocols is subtle, and correctness proofs are often informal. This paper gives a fully formal development and proof of a known consensus algorithm using the step-wise refinement method Event-B. This allows us to manage the complexity of the proof process by factoring the proof of correctness into a number of refinement steps, and to carry out the proof task concurrently with the development. During the development the processor faults and network properties on which the development steps rely are identified. The research outlined here is motivated by the observation that making different choices at these points may lead to alternative algorithms and proofs, leading to a refinement tree of algorithms with partially shared proofs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bryans JW

Editor(s): Qin, S., Qiu, Z.

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Formal Methods and Software Engineering: 13th International Conference on Formal Engineering Methods (ICFEM)

Year of Conference: 2011

Pages: 553-568

ISSN: 0302-9743 (print) 1611-3349 (online)

Publisher: Springer

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Lecture Notes in Computer Science

ISBN: 9783642245589