Clock Synchronization and Adversarial Fault Tolerance Danny Dolev and Christoph Lenzen

Registration for this course is open until Friday, 28.10.2022 23:59.


Currently, no news are available

Clock Synchronization and Adversarial Fault Tolerance




  • Christoph Lenzen
  • Danny Dolev

Teaching Assistant:

  • Sophie Wenning


Lecture slots

Weekly lecture slots:

  • Monday, 10-12
  • Wednesday, 10-12

First lecture:

  • Wednesday, 26.10

There are no tutorials. The lectures are online. The participation link will be sent out to registered students before the first lecture (later registrations are possible; please contact Christoph Lenzen (mail) or Sophie Wenning (mail) for receiving the link in this case).


Content overview

This course takes a close look at how clock synchronization can be achieved in spite of transient and permanent faults, i.e., what happens when one or more clock domains behave in unexpected or even malicious ways. It explores fault-tolerant clock distribution protocols, self-stabilising synchronisation algorithms as well as some fundamental limitations resulting from faults. All topics will be first studied through the lense of mathematical proofs. However, as the presented algorithms are simple and practical enough to be implemented on physical chips, we also will investigate real-world constraints arising from hardware and the unforgiving need for efficiency. Based on these observations, we will build bridges back to the theoretical level and try to adapt and improve our models.


Classroom model

This lecture follows the inverted classroom model. This implies that the course is structured as follows:

  • We will provide you with some reading material one week before each new lecture block and you will prepare a summary of the topic which we will grade. You are also encouraged to ask questions about aspects that you feel you have not yet properly understood. This step is intended to prepare you for the actual lecture.

  • The lecture itself aims to be interactive. The lecturers will present the topic in more detail. In a subsequent discussion we will answer your questions before moving on to jointly solved exercises designed to further deepen your understanding of the topic.



No prerequisites beyond basic familiarity with mathematical reasoning are required. It can be helpful to have knowledge about (electric) circuitry and Boolean logic, but this is not mandatory. Note in particular that last semester's course "How to clock your computer" is NOT a prerequisite.



The grades for this course will be computed from:

  • Homework assignments (25%): you have to write a short summary for each of the above chapters. These fortnightly assignments will be graded.
  • Participation in class (25%): we appreciate your participation in the discussions that will form an important part of each lecture. As your contribution will be graded, attendance at the lectures is strongly recommended.
  • Final written submission (50%): a final homework assignment at the end of the semester completes the assessment.


Privacy Policy | Legal Notice
If you encounter technical problems, please contact the administrators