We consider the problem of computing a maximal independent set (MIS) in an
extremely harsh broadcast model that relies only on carrier sensing. The model
consists of an anonymous broadcast network in which nodes have no knowledge
about the topology of the network or even an upper bound on its size.
Furthermore, it is assumed that an adversary chooses at which time slot each
node wakes up. At each time slot a node can either beep, that is, emit a
signal, or be silent. At a particular time slot, beeping nodes receive no
feedback, while silent nodes can only differentiate between none of its
neighbors beeping, or at least one of its neighbors beeping.
We start by proving a lower bound that shows that in this model, it is not
possible to locally converge to an MIS in sub-polynomial time. We then study
four different relaxations of the model which allow us to circumvent the lower
bound and find an MIS in polylogarithmic time. First, we show that if a
polynomial upper bound on the network size is known, it is possible to find an
MIS in O(log^3 n) time. Second, if we assume sleeping nodes are awoken by
neighboring beeps, then we can also find an MIS in O(log^3 n) time. Third, if
in addition to this wakeup assumption we allow sender-side collision detection,
that is, beeping nodes can distinguish whether at least one neighboring node is
beeping concurrently or not, we can find an MIS in O(log^2 n) time. Finally, if
instead we endow nodes with synchronous clocks, it is also possible to find an
MIS in O(log^2 n) time.