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I don't know if this is another word for something I already know or if it is something altogether different. I'm reading my textbook in CS about distributed algorithms, and this came up.

I googled for a definition but couldn't find one.

The state set $Q$ contains a distinguished subset of initial states.

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Maybe it would be more appropriate for StackOverflow or the like. – 1015 May 22 '13 at 2:53
It looked like a math term, so I figured I'd try here first. We'll see what others say. – agent154 May 22 '13 at 2:54
After all, there is a computer science tag here, so why not. – 1015 May 22 '13 at 3:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

A distinguished subset is one that is chosen out of all the subsets. In this case, some of the states are chosen to be "initial states".

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It just means a particular subset that we're going to pay special attention to. It does not mean that the subset has any special properties.

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