Paper Review: Paxos Explained from Scratch

“Tutorial Summary: Paxos Explained from Scratch” is an extremely unique and interesting paper. As evident from the title, the paper attempts to explain the Paxos algorithm to the reader. What makes this paper great is that it builds up the Paxos algorithm step-by-step.

The Paxos algorithm is explained in the context of building a replicated state machine. The authors begin with a simple algorithm for consensus. By injecting failures in this simple algorithm we eventually derive the Paxos algorithm in a very natural fashion.

This is the first time I’ve read a bottom-up explanation of Paxos and I thought it was quite easy to understand. Each algorithm they present (building up to the Paxos algorithm) is also accompanied by a pictorial explanation which made concepts even more clear.

Overall, I loved this paper. If you’re looking to refresh your knowledge on the Paxos algorithm I would recommend reading this paper, followed by Paxos Made Simple.

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