22C:196 Advanced Distributed Algorithms

9:30-10:20 MWF Room 112 MLH

Instructor: Sriram V. Pemmaraju
101G MLH, sriram@cs.uiowa.edu, 319-353-2956
Office Hours: 10:30-11:30 MWF and by appointment.

The course is on distributed algorithms with a focus on locality. We will be mainly interested in (i) distributed algorithms that solve problems exactly or approximately in at most polylogarithmic number of rounds and (ii) why certain problems cannot be solved in polylogarithmic number of rounds. Some of the problems for which polylogarithmic distributed algorithms exist include maximal independent set (MIS), vertex coloring, edge coloring, dominating set, facility location, etc. The algorithms we will study include the Cole-Vishkin algorithm for vertex coloring and MIS, Luby's randomized MIS algorithm, Linial's vertex coloring algorithms, the Linial-Saks network decomposition algorithm, and the Jia-Rajaraman-Suel approximation algorithm for minimum dominating set. We will also study lower bound results showing that certain problems, including the minimum spanning tree problem (MST), are impossible to solve in a certain number of rounds. These lower bound arguments include the MIS/coloring lower bound due to Linial, the MST lower bound due to Peleg and Rubinovich, and MST-approximation lower bound due to Elkin.

Required Legalese
This course is run by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This means that class policies on matters such as requirements, grading, and sanctions for academic dishonesty are governed by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students wishing to add or drop this course after the official deadline must receive the approval of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Details of the University policy of cross enrollments may be found online here.

Undergraduate algorithms (22C:31 or equivalent) and Distributed Systems and Algorithms (22C:166 or equivalent). If you do not have the latter prerequisite, please talk to me.

David Peleg, Distributed Computing: A Locality-Sensitive Approach, SIAM Monographs on Discrete Mathematics and Applications, ISBN 0-89871-464-8.

Detailed List of Topics
Here is the tentative list of the topics (with references) that I intend to cover.

Plus/Minus grading will be used for the course. There are two components that will determine your grade.

Late submissions will not be accepted and in general you will be better off turning in what you have on time rather than seeking extra time to complete your work. There will be no make-up exams in general and exceptions will be rare and only for students whose reasons are included in the University's policy on "Excused Absences from Examinations".

Students with disabilities
I would like to hear from anyone who has a disability which may require seating modifications or testing accommodations or accommodations of other class requirements, so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Please contact me during my office hours.

Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Under no circumstances should you pass off someone else's work as your own. This also applies to code or other material that you might find on the internet. Note that we will routinely use available software systems for detecting software plagiarism, to test any suspicions we might have. If you are unclear about what constitutes academic dishonesty contact your professor or consult the printed policy in the Schedule of Courses and the CLAS Bulletin (online version). We do want students to talk to each other about concepts and ideas that relate to the class. However, it is important to ensure that these discussions do not lead to the actual exchange of written material.

Student Complaints
If you have any complaints or concerns about how the course is being conducted by me or by the TAs please feel free to talk to me. You are also welcome to get in touch the the Computer Science department chair, Prof. Jim Cremer (cremer@cs.uiowa.edu, 319-335-1713, 14D McLean Hall). Consult the college policy on Student Complaints Concerning Faculty Actions (online version) for more information.