In distributed systems, one frequently needs a set of n nodes to come to a consensus on a particular coordinating or master node, referred to as the leader. Leader election protocols are used to establish this. Sure, you could do the Swedish or the Silverback, but there's a whole world of consensus algorithms out there. For instance:

The Agent Smith

Each node injects its neighbors with a total copy of its own state and identity, taking over operations on that node. Convergence is reached when all nodes are identical.

The Highlander Ending

This trivial algorithm simply ensures that all nodes crash upon receiving any decapitate message from a neighbor k. That node's responsibilities and powers are delegated to k. The last node standing wins.

The Deathly Hallows

Each node i contacts zero to n-1 other nodes, and stores upon each a prime number known as a hoarcrux. The product of all hoarcruxen is the Avada Kedavra for node i; when i receives it in a message, it immediately exits the leader election process. Each node proceeds to contact its neighbors in search of hoarcruxes, and attempts to use them to win the election. If a node is terminated while its killing curse is "in flight", the curse is negated and both nodes seek new targets.

The Terminator II

This leader election protocol can only be implemented on computational substrates embedded in closed timelike curves. This system has the happy property of never encountering a conflict. If two nodes ever conflict, each dispatches a function to before the origin of the system, killing its competitor before it enters the cluster. Logical coherency then requires the system proceeds without ever encountering a failure.

Note: attempts to implement this process have resulted in the untimely and grisly redacted redacted redacted of no fewer than -0 programmers, due to we regret to inform you that this message is inappropriate for younger viewers.

The Cthulu Fhtagn

A small subset of nodes are classified as the Old Ones and enter sleep. All other nodes are considered cultists and send messages to a randomly selected Old One. When a sufficient (randomly determined) number of prayers have been received by an Old One (or whenever it feels like), it awakens and is considered the leader. All cultists immediately dump core.

Note: Astute readers may have noticed this protocol does not guarantee a leader exists, or for that matter, that there is at maximum only one leader. Embrace chaos.


Note: A variant of this algorithm is used in several popular distributed databases.

The Folsom State Fair

Each node is designated, by PRNG, a "top" or "bottom" role, and begins in state virgin. Each bottom b advertises its availability to its neighbors; when it encounters a top t, b changes state to claimed and considers itself the property of t. When all bottoms have given up their virginity, the leader is the top with the most claimed nodes. Ties are resolved by selecting the remaining tops and recursively evaluating the protocol, only this time every node issues a log message that it's really just versatile.

The Congressional Election

Nodes assign themselves to one of two parties, A or B, by random value. A quorum agreement between nodes is required to elect a leader. Voting for a leader proceeds in synchronized rounds, typically lasting multiple days.

When a vote arises, each node issues a broadcast message informing the cluster of its vote. A nodes always vote for the A node with the highest process identifier. B nodes always vote for the B node with the highest process identifier.

If at any point more than 60% of the messages received by a given node are for the opposite party, that node initiates a filibuster. It spams the network with a hold message, during which no other nodes can proceed with the election process.

This protocol proceeds until the cluster has almost exhausted virtual memory, at which point a quarter of the processes (with the exception of the distributed system itself) on each host are terminated, and the election process restarts.

Bob and Sarah are a physicist and chemist, respectively. They should have known better than to send us mad libs for an RSVP card.


Translation: On July 23rd, Bob and Sarah will finally be elements of the set of unordered pairs of people. Kyle is very (the official sequence ID of the "happy numbers") for them, and wishes them an uncountable infinity of happiness and that they should be an ideal example of the wedding ring together. Therefore, 1 will, with less than 1 percent conformance with the null hypothesis, attend and look forward to seeing the undefined (as bride/groom is indivisible) in their Klein bottle dress/suit.

3 imaginary people will attend with greater than 2 sigma (2 standard deviations away from a normal distribution of error) confidence, and hopes that the couple plays Crab Canon, a piece by Bach structured like a closely related non-orientable manifold, the Mobius strip.

Nobody requests the London Broil, 1 +/- 0.5 would like the Chicken Piccata, and 0 will have the Mushroom Steak. A strictly speaking undefined but we're physicists so fuck it, it's zero number of people are positive that they cannot attend, because of undefinite orders from the nonexistent fourth floor of the physics and chemistry building they spend so much time in.

The lead singer of The Invasion Service

Smear green blood
Your palms are sweaty
Scaly skin glistening
To last demands
The planet's going under and
You're floating overhead

(Lizard men) [x2]

Wear my badge
Secret cameras transmit your
Treachery to the rest
Tells your true friends
I am a Visitor here
You'll all be murdered soon

The only thing
Keeping me alive is

Seems so out of context
Lizard leader with a warlike complex
Strangers from the galaxy
Explaining their "peaceful" visiting
And I am finally seeing
That the V's are without feeling

DC burns alone tonight


The district burns alone tonight
After drones take resistance lives
Innocents are doomed to learning
Lizard people wear our skin like clothing
And I am finally seeing
That the V's are without feeling

You're so prolific
An impact factor well above thirty two
It makes me jealous
And in need of passing this peer review--

You know my motivations
In search of reputation
My erdos number ill acquire from you

So in this explication
Of conformal transformations
Please excuse me I don't mean to be crude
But tonight I'm citing you

(11:14:54 AM) Duretti Hirpa: shit, i had all the boyfriend points in your LAST relationship


If I recall correctly, this was the result of a protracted 1v1 CounterStrike match between myself and Jon Beare. Neither of us could move without exposing ourselves, so we fought by proxy.

Researchers at KERN (the Kyle Eats Ridiculously Nook) have announced reactions of unprecedented energy. The upcoming paper is expected to place new upper bounds on the maximum mass of the T-Burgeron. Results from the TASTEBUD array and Digestive Calorimeter are said to be "off the charts."

Quantum foam researchers are eagerly awaiting the results of the supersymmetric supersalad (S4) experiment, which is the first to explore symmetry breaking between feta cheese and fresh c-tomatoes. High activation energies in fork-lettuce interactions have long limited the experimental accessibility of the salad model, but new models of bound arugula-cucumber pairs suggest a "delicious island of stability" may lurk at larger plate sizes.

Superstring theorists continue to argue that all vegetables are fundamentally stringlike, but thus far only beans have been proven to meet the topological constraints.

Contextual advertising just gets better and better. During the scene where the T-2000 is frozen by liquid nitrogen, breaks into pieces, and then melts back together under blast furnace heat, up pops this gem.


Hi Mom! I know you want to know what I'm up to down here in CA. This basically sums it up!

Duretti and her nonexistent website shut me down at lunch:

Duretti Hirpa: no one should take your sartorial advice
Duretti Hirpa: gays thought you were a straighty
Duretti Hirpa: THIS WEEKEND
Duretti Hirpa: at PRIDE

On frontend vs backend engineering:

Duretti Hirpa: WWOOOOOOOOO

I really do have the best roommate ever. :)

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