Sublinear Bounds for Randomized Leader Election

Shay Kutten, Gopal Pandurangan, David Peleg, Peter Robinson, Amitabh Trehan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper concerns randomized leader election in synchronous distributed networks. A distributed leader election algorithm is presented for complete n-node networks that runs in O(1) rounds and (with high probability) takes only O(n-vlog3/2n) messages to elect a unique leader (with high probability). This algorithm is then extended to solve leader election on any connected non-bipartiten-node graph G in O(t(G)) time and O(t(G)n-vlog3/2n) messages, where t(G) is the mixing time of a random walk on G. The above result implies highly efficient (sublinear running time and messages) leader election algorithms for networks with small mixing times, such as expanders and hypercubes. In contrast, previous leader election algorithms had at least linear message complexity even in complete graphs. Moreover, super-linear message lower bounds are known for time-efficientdeterministic leader election algorithms. Finally, an almost-tight lower bound is presented for randomized leader election, showing that O(n-v) messages are needed for any O(1) time leader election algorithm which succeeds with high probability. It is also shown that O(n 1/3) messages are needed by any leader election algorithm that succeeds with high probability, regardless of the number of the rounds. We view our results as a step towards understanding the randomized complexity of leader election in distributed networks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Computer Scence
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Conference on Distributed Computing and Networking
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Best Paper Award winner at ICDCN 2013, CDCN 2013 14th International Conference on Distributed Computing and Networking. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India


  • cs.DS
  • cs.DC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Theoretical Computer Science

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