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A frequent problem in settings where a unique resource must be shared among users is how to resolve the contention that arises when all of them must use it, but the resource allows only for one user each time. The application of efficient solutions for this problem spans a myriad of settings such as radio communication networks or databases. For the case where the number of users is unknown, recent work has yielded fruitful results for local area networks and radio networks, although either a (possibly loose) upper bound on the number of users needs to be known, or the solution is suboptimal, or it is only implicit or embedded in other problems, with bounds proved only asymptotically.
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