Applying the dynamics of evolution to achieve reliability in master-worker computing Articles uri icon


publication date

  • December 2013

start page

  • 2363

end page

  • 2380


  • 17


  • 25

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1532-0626

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-0634


  • We consider Internet-based master-worker task computations, such as SETI@home, where a master process sends tasks, across the Internet, to worker processes; workers execute and report back some result. However, these workers are not trustworthy, and it might be at their best interest to report incorrect results. In such master-worker computations, the behavior and the best interest of the workers might change over time. We model such computations using evolutionary dynamics, and we study the conditions under which the master can reliably obtain task results. In particular, we develop and analyze an algorithmic mechanism based on reinforcement learning to provide workers with the necessary incentives to eventually become truthful. Our analysis identifies the conditions under which truthful behavior can be ensured and bounds the expected convergence time to that behavior. The analysis is complemented with illustrative simulations.


  • Mathematics


  • performing tasks; internet-based computing; evolutionary dynamics; reinforcement learning; algorithmic mechanism design