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On the k-atomicity-verification problem

Wojciech Golab
The 33rd International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, IEEE (2013)


Modern Internet-scale storage systems often provide weak consistency in exchange for better perfor- mance and resilience. An important weak consistency prop- erty is k-atomicity, which bounds the staleness of values returned by read operations. The k-atomicity-verification problem (or k-AV for short) is the problem of deciding whether a given history of operations is k-atomic. The 1-AV problem is equivalent to verifying atomicity/linearizability, a well-known and solved problem. However, for k ? 2, no polynomial-time k-AV algorithm is known. This paper makes the following contributions towards solving the k-AV problem. First, we present a simple 2- AV algorithm called LBT, which is likely to be efficient (quasilinear) for histories that arise in practice, although it is less efficient (quadratic) in the worst case. Second, we present a more involved 2-AV algorithm called FZF, which runs efficiently (quasilinear) even in the worst case. To our knowledge, these are the first algorithms that solve the 2-AV problem fully. Third, we show that the weighted k-AV problem, a natural extension of the k-AV problem, is NP-complete.