The Annals of Probability

A leader-election procedure using records

Gerold Alsmeyer, Zakhar Kabluchko, and Alexander Marynych

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Motivated by the open problem of finding the asymptotic distributional behavior of the number of collisions in a Poisson–Dirichlet coalescent, the following version of a stochastic leader-election algorithm is studied. Consider an infinite family of persons, labeled by $1,2,3,\ldots$, who generate i.i.d. random numbers from an arbitrary continuous distribution. Those persons who have generated a record value, that is, a value larger than the values of all previous persons, stay in the game, all others must leave. The remaining persons are relabeled by $1,2,3,\ldots$ maintaining their order in the first round, and the election procedure is repeated independently from the past and indefinitely. We prove limit theorems for a number of relevant functionals for this procedure, notably the number of rounds $T(M)$ until all persons among $1,\ldots,M$, except the first one, have left (as $M\to\infty$). For example, we show that the sequence $(T(M)-\log^{*}M)_{M\in \mathbb{N}}$, where $\log^{*}$ denotes the iterated logarithm, is tight, and study its weak subsequential limits. We further provide an appropriate and apparently new kind of normalization (based on tetrations) such that the original labels of persons who stay in the game until round $n$ converge (as $n\to\infty$) to some random non-Poissonian point process and study its properties. The results are applied to describe all subsequential distributional limits for the number of collisions in the Poisson–Dirichlet coalescent, thus providing a complete answer to the open problem mentioned above.

Article information

Ann. Probab. Volume 45, Number 6B (2017), 4348-4388.

Received: February 2016
Revised: November 2016
First available in Project Euclid: 12 December 2017

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Primary: 60F05: Central limit and other weak theorems 60G55: Point processes
Secondary: 60J10: Markov chains (discrete-time Markov processes on discrete state spaces)

Poisson–Dirichlet coalescent leader-election procedure absorption time random recursion tetration iterated logarithm records


Alsmeyer, Gerold; Kabluchko, Zakhar; Marynych, Alexander. A leader-election procedure using records. Ann. Probab. 45 (2017), no. 6B, 4348--4388. doi:10.1214/16-AOP1167.

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