Since Origin / Contributor Maintainer Source
2020-01-20 alexandruantochi alexandruantochi gossip.lua

This module is based on the gossip protocol and it can be used to disseminate information through the network to other nodes. The time it takes for the information to reach all nodes is logN. For every round number n, 2^n nodes will receive the information.


gossip = require('gossip')


gossip = nil


config = {
    seedList = { '', '' },
    debug = true,
    debugOutput = print
gossip = require ("gossip")


Each controller will randomly pick an IP from it's seed list. It will send a SYN request to that IP and set receiving node's state to an intermediary state between Up and Suspect. The node that receives the SYN request will compute a diff on the received networkState vs own networkState. It will then send that diff as an ACK request. If there is no data to send, it will only send an ACK. When the ACK is received, the sender's state will revert to Up and the receiving node will update it's own networkState using the diff (based on the ACK reply).

Gossip will establish if the information received from another node has fresher data by first comparing the revision, then the heartbeat and lastly the state. States that are closer to DOWN have priority as an offline node does not update it's heartbeat.

Any other parameter can be sent along with the mandatory revision, heartbeat and state thus allowing the user to spread information around the network. Every time a node receives 'fresh' data, the gossip.updateCallback will be called with that data as the first parameter.

Currently there is no implemented deletion for nodes that are down except for the fact that their status is signaled as REMOVE.

Example use-case

There are multiple modules on the network that measure temperature. We want to know the maximum and minimum temperature at a given time and have every node display it.

The brute force solution would be to query each node from a single point and save the min and max values, then go back to each node and present them with the computed min and max. This requires n*2 rounds, where n is the number of nodes. It also opens the algorithm to a single point of failure (the node that is in charge of gathering the data).

Using gossip, one can have the node send it's latest value through SYN or pushGossip() and use the callbackUpdate function to compare the values from other nodes to it's own. Based on that, the node will display the values it knows about by gossiping with others. The data will be transmitted in ~log(n) rounds, where n is the number of nodes.


revision : generation of the node; if a node restarts, the revision will be increased by one. The revision data is stored as a file to provide persistency

heartBeat : the node uptime in seconds (tmr.time()). This is used to help the other nodes figure out if the information about that particular node is newer.

networkState : the list with the state of the network composed of the ip as a key and revision, heartBeat and state as values packed in a table.

state : all nodes start with a state set to UP and when a node sends a SYN request, it will mark the destination node in an intermediary state until it receives an ACK or a SYN from it. If a node receives any message, it will mark that senders IP as UP as this provides proof that the node is online.




Sets the configuration for gossip. The available options are:

seedList : the list of seeds gossip will start with; this will be updated as new nodes are discovered. Note that it's enough for all nodes to start with the same IP in the seedList, as once they have one seed in common, the data will propagate. If the seedList is empty a broadcast is sent, so this can be used for automatic discovery of nodes.

roundInterval: interval in milliseconds at which gossip will pick a random node from the seed list and send a SYN request

comPort : port for the listening UDP socket

debug : flag that will provide debugging messages

debugOutput : if debug is set to true, then this method will be used as a callback with the debug message as the first parameter

config = {
    seedList = {'',''},
    roundInterval = 10000,
    comPort = 5000,
    debug = true,
    debugOutput = function(message) print('Gossip says: '..message); end

If any of them is not provided, the values will default:

seedList : nil

roundInterval: 10000 (10 seconds)

comPort : 5000

debug : false

debugOutput : print




Starts gossip, sets the started flag to true and initiates the revision. The revision (generation) main purpose is like a persistent heartbeat, as the heartbeat (measured by uptime in seconds) will obviously revert to 0.



gossip.callbackFunction = function(data)

-- stop the callback
gossip.callbackFunction = nil

If declared, this function will get called every time there is a SYN with new data.



gossip.pushGossip(data, [ip])

-- remove data
gossip.pushGossip(nil, [ip])

Send a SYN request outside of the normal gossip round. The IP is optional and if none given, it will pick a random node.

!!! note
. By calling `pushGossip(nil)` you effectively remove the `data` table from the node's network state and notify other nodes of this.




The only scenario when rev should be set manually is when a new node is added to the network and has the same IP. Having a smaller revision than the previous node with the same IP would make gossip think the data it received is old, thus ignoring it.

!!! note

The revision file value will only be read when gossip starts and it will be incremented by one.



networkState = gossip.getNetworkState()

The network state can be directly accessed as a Lua table : gossip.networkState or it can be received as a JSON with this method.


JSON formatted string regarding the network state.


  "": {
    "state": 3,
    "revision": 25,
    "heartbeat": 2500,
    "extra" : "this is some extra info from node 53"
  "": {
    "state": 0,
    "revision": 4,
    "heartbeat": 6500