We study a \emph{Plurality-Consensus} process in which each of $n$ anonymous agents of a communication network initially supports an opinion (a color chosen from a finite set $[k]$). Then, in every (synchronous) round, each agent can revise his color according to the opinions currently held by a random sample of his neighbors... It is assumed that the initial color configuration exhibits a sufficiently large \emph{bias} $s$ towards a fixed plurality color, that is, the number of nodes supporting the plurality color exceeds the number of nodes supporting any other color by $s$ additional nodes. The goal is having the process to converge to the \emph{stable} configuration in which all nodes support the initial plurality. We consider a basic model in which the network is a clique and the update rule (called here the \emph{3-majority dynamics}) of the process is the following: each agent looks at the colors of three random neighbors and then applies the majority rule (breaking ties uniformly). We prove that the process converges in time $\mathcal{O}( \min\{ k, (n/\log n)^{1/3} \} \, \log n )$ with high probability, provided that $s \geqslant c \sqrt{ \min\{ 2k, (n/\log n)^{1/3} \}\, n \log n}$. We then prove that our upper bound above is tight as long as $k \leqslant (n/\log n)^{1/4}$. This fact implies an exponential time-gap between the plurality-consensus process and the \emph{median} process studied by Doerr et al. in [ACM SPAA'11]. A natural question is whether looking at more (than three) random neighbors can significantly speed up the process. We provide a negative answer to this question: In particular, we show that samples of polylogarithmic size can speed up the process by a polylogarithmic factor only. read more

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Discrete Mathematics
Distributed, Parallel, and Cluster Computing

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