**Author****:** Atish Das Sarma, Stephan Holzer, Liah Kor, Amos Korman, Danupon Nanongkai, Gopal Pandurangan, David Peleg, Roger Wattenhofer

**Download:** arXiv

**Conference: **STOC 2011

**Journal: **–

**Abstract:**

We study the *verification* problem in distributed networks, stated as follows. Let be a subgraph of a network where each vertex of knows which edges incident on it are in . We would like to verify whether has some properties, e.g., if it is a tree or if it is connected. We would like to perform this verification in a decentralized fashion via a distributed algorithm. The time complexity of verification is measured as the number of rounds of distributed communication.

In this paper we initiate a systematic study of distributed verification, and give almost tight lower bounds on the running time of distributed verification algorithms for many fundamental problems such as connectivity, spanning connected subgraph, and cut verification. We then show applications of these results in deriving strong unconditional time lower bounds on the * hardness of distributed approximation* for many classical optimization problems including minimum spanning tree, shortest paths, and minimum cut. Many of these results are the first non-trivial lower bounds for both exact and approximate distributed computation and they resolve previous open questions. Moreover, our unconditional lower bound of approximating minimum spanning tree (MST) subsumes and improves upon the previous hardness of approximation bound of Elkin [STOC 2004] as well as the lower bound for (exact) MST computation of Peleg and Rubinovich [FOCS 1999]. Our result implies that there can be no distributed approximation algorithm for MST that is significantly faster than the current exact algorithm, for *any* approximation factor.

Our lower bound proofs show an interesting connection between communication complexity and distributed computing which turns out to be useful in establishing the time complexity of exact and approximate distributed computation of many problems.

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