11th December 2008
Gossip protocols are designed to operate in very large, decentralised networks. A node in such a network bases its decision to interact (gossip) with another node on its partial view of the global system. Because of the size of these networks, analysis of gossip protocols is mostly done using simulation, which tends to be expensive in computation time and memory consumption. We introduce mean-field analysis as an analytical method to evaluate gossip protocols. Nodes in the network are represented by small identical stochastic models. Joining all the nodes would result in an enormous stochastic process. If the number of nodes goes to infinity, however, mean-field analysis allows us to replace this intractably large stochastic process by a small deterministic process. This process approximates the behaviour of very large gossip networks, and can be evaluated using simple matrix-vector multiplications.