Counting with population protocols

Yves Mocquard, Emmanuelle Anceaume, James Aspnes, Yann Busnel, and Bruno Sericola. Counting with population protocols. 2015 IEEE 14th International Symposium on Network Computing and Applications, September 2015, pp. 35–42.


The population protocol model provides theoretical foundations for analyzing the properties emerging from simple and pairwise interactions among a very large number n of anonymous agents. The problem tackled in this paper is the following one: is there an efficient population protocol that exactly counts the difference κ between the number of agents that initially and independently set their state to A and the one that initially set it to B, assuming that each agent only uses a finite set of states? We propose a solution which guarantees with any high probability that after O(log n) interactions any agent outputs the exact value of κ. Simulation results illustrate our theoretical analysis.


author = {Yves Mocquard and Emmanuelle Anceaume and James Aspnes and Yann Busnel and Bruno Sericola},
title = {Counting with population protocols},
booktitle = {2015 IEEE 14th International Symposium on Network Computing and Applications},
mon = sep,
year      = {2015},
pages = {35--42}

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