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Distributed Algorithms (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems) [Hardcover]

Nancy A. Lynch
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 April 1996 The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems
In "Distributed Algorithms", Nancy Lynch provides a blueprint for designing, implementing, and analyzing distributed algorithms. She directs her book at a wide audience, including students, programmers, system designers, and researchers. "Distributed Algorithms" contains the most significant algorithms and impossibility results in the area, all in a simple automata-theoretic setting. The algorithms are proved correct, and their complexity is analyzed according to precisely defined complexity measures. The problems covered include resource allocation, communication, consensus among distributed processes, data consistency, deadlock detection, leader election, global snapshots, and many others. The material is organized according to the system model-first by the timing model and then by the interprocess communication mechanism. The material on system models is isolated in separate chapters for easy reference. The presentation is completely rigorous, yet is intuitive enough for immediate comprehension. This book familiarizes readers with important problems, algorithms, and impossibility results in the area: readers can then recognize the problems when they arise in practice, apply the algorithms to solve them, and use the impossibility results to determine whether problems are unsolvable. The book also provides readers with the basic mathematical tools for designing new algorithms and proving new impossibility results. In addition, it teaches readers how to reason carefully about distributed algorithms - to model them formally, devise precise specifications for their required behavior, prove their correctness, and evaluate their performance with realistic measures.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 904 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers In (16 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558603484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558603486
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 19.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

About the author: Nancy A. Lynch is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and heads MIT's Theory of Distributed Systems research group. She is the author of numerous research articles about distributed algorithms and impossibility results, and about formal modeling and verification of distributed systems.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is in the same class as "Discrete mathematics" by Knuth and others. Important topic, extensive coverage, good English, zero vendor's propaganda. Super. An unexpected gift from up above (after struggling with reams of MS's (dis) information <g>.) I am working on something distributed and ran into this book accidentally, while browsing in a bookstore--I'm glad I did. Btw, it's a few bucks cheaper in B&N store (here goes my review <g>.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I finally found a very nice compendium of concisely described distributed algorithms. The book is highly readable and I look forward to more books from the author. If you work with distributed systems or software problems, buy this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A computer science classic 22 Jan 2012
By woppo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I know it seems expensive. Really it's a bargain.

If you are interested in distributed and parallel computing then you owe it to yourself to own this.

This book is a computer science classic.

Un-put-downable!

A pure pleasure.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the only book of its kind 31 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
At MIT, I took the course 6.852 Distributed Algorithms under Professor Nancy Lynch. It was an excellence course. This books is based on her lecture notes. Before this book, there is really no book that covers these material in rigorious and consistent matter. One usually have to read the actual published academic papers. Because different author may use different notations or models, sometimes it is hard to see the whole picture. This book shows exactly that. The algorithms are presented in a consistent notation, and the models and the assumptions all the explicit, clear and consistent. However, Professor Lynch's lecture style can get really dry and boring, sometimes I can't help felling asleep because the class was so early in the morning. For that, I decided to give it only 4 stars.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The original printed book is great, but the technical quality of the Kindle edition is extremely poor 21 Feb 2012
By JS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a classic, and I was excited when I learned that this excellent reference work is also available as a Kindle edition.

Unfortunately, the technical quality of the Kindle version is extremely poor. In particular, many parts of it are very difficult to follow because of several technical errors that have been introduced in the conversion of the printed book into Kindle edition.

The Kindle edition is barely useful as a reference if you already have read the printed book, and just want to quickly look up some definitions or references. Trying to read any non-trivial fragment of the Kindle version is a painful experience.

- - -

I am giving here just some examples of the issues that should have been easy to spot before publishing the Kindle version of the book.

Throughout the book, there are numerous strange errors in mathematical formulas. There are confusing mistakes such as using $o(n)$ instead of $O(n)$, or replacing the floor notation with brackets "[...]", or replacing the $\ge$ symbol with text "VI". In many places, the book uses $\epsilon$ instead of $\in$, "U" instead of $\cup$, "V" instead of $\vee$, "." instead of $\cdot$, etc.

There are lots of alignment issues; superscripts and subscripts are often lost. Spacing is wrong, for example, there is often "O (n log n)" instead of "O(n log n)" or "O (logn)" instead of "O(log n)". Hyphens and minus signs are wildly mixed up even within a single paragraph of text. In general, you can expect all kinds of mistakes that happen when you try to apply OCR to mathematical formulas, without carefully proofreading the end result.

Many text fragments - more complicated formulas, algorithm listings, etc. - seem to be low-resolution scanned images. There is a lot of noise in the figures, and the font size in the figures is tiny, making subscripts and superscripts very difficult to read. The alignment of text with respect to the scanned images is poor, making the formulas even more difficult to follow.

All illustrations are also low-resolution scans.

The OCR mistakes are not confined to mathematical formulas. For example, there are mistakes such as replacing the word "component's" with "component-s".

In general the whole volume gives the impression of very sloppy work. Some figures have not been correctly cropped, and there are fragments of surrounding text still visible. The structure of the text (indentations, bullets, etc.) is lost in many places. The use of colours is distracting. Even the hyperlinks are wrong in some places - a sample input in an exercise has been turned into a list of hyperlinks into text chapters. The last page claims that there is also a web version, but the activation system does not seem to recognise this book.

- - -

The original printed book is very well typeset, and it is really sad to see what the publisher has done when they prepared the Kindle edition.

I would have expected that the electronic sources of the original book would have been available; the book is not that old. Nevertheless, it seems that the publisher has just scanned a printed copy of the book, ran it through OCR, and done some rudimentary clean-up. In particular, it seems that nobody has actually bothered to proof-read the end result carefully.

Yet they are selling the Kindle version for > 100 USD...
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars definite reference 22 Mar 2003
By Boris Aleksandrovsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Professor's Nancy Lynch's "Distributed Algorithms" is a definite reference for theoretical treatments of many hard problems in distributed computing. It is a textbook, but written in such a clear style that makes it almost a pleasure read. Rarely have I seen something like that! The book has a right proportion of theoretical proofs, practical applications, philosophical appreciation of the problems, research questions, examples and study points.
"Distributed Algorithms" has 3 main parts - synchronous, asynchronous and partially synchronous network algorisms. Each part describes consensus resolution, mutual exclusion, resource allocation, leader election, termination detection and failure detection as main problems in distributed computing theory. Lynch has done a masterful job of leading us from simple to complex, from theoretically solvable to practically intractable problems.
For a practitioner of computer science, who is not necessarily involved in fundamental research, this book gives a clear appreciation of problems of 2PC, resource management, failure profiles in faulty and noisy networks, optimization and fault management in distributed networks. All those things are foundations of databases, network computing and enterprise scalability. It also helped me greatly in estimating the best and worst case boundaries in certain practical distributed system optimization problems.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study material for a practising IT engineer 26 Sep 2005
By Jan Van Oort - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Together with Mrs. Lynch's other book "Atomic Transactions", this book has been my "Bible" for years already. And now that I am starting my own company in software development, I think about making this book obligatory reading for my first new employee. Not only because of the nature of its contents, but also because of the way these are presented, and the thought-work behind it. Ideas like the provability of algorithms, seeing the user as an automaton and showing that Lamport time >>really>> works, are rare to be found together in the same textbook. This book puts research back where it belongs: before practice, not over it. Mrs. Lynch has done a great job. It is upon this work of hers, together with "Atomic Transactions", that the IOA specification language is based, created in the LCS of MIT. IOA is now in near-operational working order, and puts into application almost all of the thoughts expressed in this book.

A must-read for any software engineer who takes him-/herself seriously.
18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class thing. I wish all I have to read were that good 8 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is in the same class as "Discrete mathematics" by Knuth and others. Important topic, extensive coverage, good English, zero vendor's propaganda. Super. An unexpected gift from up above (after struggling with reams of MS's (dis) information <g>.) I am working on something distributed and ran into this book accidentally, while browsing in a bookstore--I'm glad I did. Btw, it's a few bucks cheaper in B&N store (here goes my review <g>.)
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book for practicing software pros 3 Sep 1998
By neumille@cig.mot.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I finally found a very nice compendium of concisely described distributed algorithms. The book is highly readable and I look forward to more books from the author. If you work with distributed systems or software problems, buy this book!
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