Rendezvous of Two Robots with Constant Memory

Abstract

We study the impact that persistent memory has on the classical rendezvous problem of two mobile computational entities, called robots, in the plane. It is well known that, without additional assumptions, rendezvous is impossible if the entities are oblivious (i.e., have no persistent memory) even if the system is semi-synchronous (SSynch). It has been recently shown that rendezvous is possible even if the system is asynchronous (ASynch) if each robot is endowed with O(1) bits of persistent memory, can transmit O(1) bits in each cycle, and can remember (i.e., can persistently store) the last received transmission. This setting is overly powerful. In this paper we weaken that setting in two different ways: (1) by maintaining the O(1) bits of persistent memory but removing the communication capabilities; and (2) by maintaining the O(1) transmission capability and the ability to remember the last received transmission, but removing the ability of an agent to remember its previous activities. We call the former setting finite-state (FState) and the latter finite-communication (FComm). Note that, even though its use is very different, in both settings, the amount of persistent memory of a robot is constant. We investigate the rendezvous problem in these two weaker settings. We model both settings as a system of robots endowed with visible lights: in FState, a robot can only see its own light, while in FComm a robot can only see the other robot's light. We prove, among other things, that finite-state robots can rendezvous in SSynch, and that finite-communication robots are able to rendezvous even in ASynch. All proofs are constructive: in each setting, we present a protocol that allows the two robots to rendezvous in finite time.

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-03578-9_16

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