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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

A correctness proof of a topology information maintenance protocol for a distributed computer network

In order for the nodes of a distributed computer network to communicate, each node must have information about the network's topology. Since nodes and links sometimes crash, a scheme is needed to update this information. One of the major constraints on such a topology information scheme is that it may not involve a central controller. The Topology Information Protocol that was implemented on the MERIT Computer Network is presented and explained; this protocol is quite general and could be implemented on any computer network. It is based on Baran's “Hot Potato Heuristic Routing Doctrine.” A correctness proof of this Topology Information Protocol is also presented.

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