Abstract

At the PODC 2001 conference, I got tired of everyone saying how difficult it was to understand the Paxos algorithm, published in [122]. Although people got so hung up in the pseudo-Greek names that they found the paper hard to understand, the algorithm itself is very simple. So, I cornered a couple of people at the conference and explained the algorithm to them orally, with no paper. When I got home, I wrote down the explanation as a short note, which I later revised based on comments from Fred Schneider and Butler Lampson. The current version is 13 pages long, and contains no formula more complicated than n1 > n2.