The Impact of Communication Delays on Distributed Consensus Algorithms

TitleThe Impact of Communication Delays on Distributed Consensus Algorithms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsTsianos, K. I., and M. G. Rabbat
JournalTransactions on Automatic Control

We study the effect of communication delays on distributed consensus algorithms. Two ways to model delays on a network are presented. The first model assumes that each link delivers messages with a fixed (constant) amount of delay, and the second model is more realistic, allowing for i.i.d. time-varying bounded delays. In contrast to previous work studying the effects of delays on consensus algorithms, the models studied here allow for a node to receive multiple messages from the same neighbor in one iteration. The analysis of the fixed delay model shows that convergence to a consensus is guaranteed and the rate of convergence is reduced by no more than a factor O(B2) where B is the maximum delay on any link. For the time-varying delay model we also give a convergence proof which, for row-stochastic consensus protocols, is not a trivial consequence of ergodic matrix products. In both delay models, the consensus value is no longer the average, even if the original protocol was an averaging protocol. For this reason, we propose the use of a different consensus algorithm called Push-Sum [Kempe et al. 2003]. We model delays in the Push-Sum framework and show that convergence to the average consensus is guaranteed. This suggests that Push-Sum might be a better choice from a practical standpoint.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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