Convergence speed in distributed consensus and averaging

Alex Olshevsky, John N. Tsitsiklis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We study the convergence speed of distributed iterative algorithms for the consensus and averaging problems, with emphasis on the latter. We first consider the case of a fixed communication topology. We show that a simple adaptation of a consensus algorithm leads to an averaging algorithm. We prove lower bounds on the worst-case convergence time for various classes of linear, time-invariant, distributed consensus methods, and provide an algorithm that essentially matches those lower bounds. We then consider the case of a time-varying topology, and provide a polynomial-time averaging algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-772
Number of pages26
JournalSIAM Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Consensus algorithms
  • Cooper ative control
  • Distributed averaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Convergence speed in distributed consensus and averaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this