A logical clock is a mechanism for capturing chronological and causal relationships in a distributed system. Often, distributed systems may have no physically synchronous global clock. Fortunately, in many applications (such as distributed GNU make), if two processes never interact, the lack of synchronization is unobservable. Moreover, in these applications, it suffices for the processes to agree on the event ordering (i.e., logical clock) rather than the wall-clock time. The first logical clock implementation, the Lamport timestamps, was proposed by Leslie Lamport in 1978 (Turing Award in 2013).
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