Contention resolution with log-logstar channel accesses

Michael A. Bender, Seth Pettie, Tsvi Kopelowitz, Maxwell Young

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

33 Scopus citations


For decades, randomized exponential backoff has provided a critical algorithmic building block in situations where multiple devices seek access to a shared resource. Surprisingly, despite this history, the performance of standard backoff is poor under worst-case scheduling of demands on the resource: (i) subconstant throughput can occur under plausible scenarios, and (ii) each of N devices requires Ω(log N) access attempts before obtaining the resource. In this paper, we address these shortcomings by offering a new backoff protocol for a shared communications channel that guarantees expected constant throughput with only O(log(log N)) access attempts in expectation. Central to this result are new algorithms for approximate counting and leader election with the same performance guarantees.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSTOC 2016 - Proceedings of the 48th Annual ACM SIGACT Symposium on Theory of Computing
EditorsYishay Mansour, Daniel Wichs
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450341325
StatePublished - 19 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event48th Annual ACM SIGACT Symposium on Theory of Computing, STOC 2016 - Cambridge, United States
Duration: 19 Jun 201621 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
ISSN (Print)0737-8017


Conference48th Annual ACM SIGACT Symposium on Theory of Computing, STOC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 ACM.


  • Distributed computing
  • Exponential backoff; energy efficiency; multiple-access channel; randomized backoff


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