Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System

Leslie Lamport

The concept of one event happening before another in a distributed system is examined, and is shown to define a partial ordering of the events. A distributed algorithm is given for synchronizing a system of logical clocks which can be used to totally order the events. The use of the total ordering is illustrated with a method for solving synchronization problems. The algorithm is then specialized for synchronizing physical clocks, and a bound is derived on how far out of synchrony the clocks can become.

Communications of the ACM 21(7), pages 558-565, 1978, ACM, New York, NY, USA
Address = {New York, NY, USA},
Author = {Lamport, Leslie},
Doi = {10.1145/359545.359563},
Issn = {0001-0782},
Journal = {Communications of the ACM},
Number = 7,
Pages = {558--565},
Publisher = {ACM},
Title = {Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System},
Url = {http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=359563},
Volume = 21,
Year = 1978}

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