The term round-robin was originally used to describe a document signed by multiple parties in a circle to make it more difficult to determine the order in which it was signed, thus preventing a ringleader from being identified. The term has evolved to account for any activity in which a group of resources is interacted with singularly and in a circular order.

Round-robin may also refer to a letter with a single author copied and sent to multiple recipients, as when one sends out family news on holidays; this is also called a circular
Circular is a basic geometric shape such as a Circle.Circular may also refer to:-Documents:*Circular note, a document request by a bank to its foreign correspondents to pay a specified sum of money to a named person...

. Gatherings among friends or neighbors where each course is held in a different house, commonly during the holiday season, may also be called a round-robin. This is more commonly referred to as a progressive dinner/supper
Progressive dinner
A progressive dinner or safari supper is a dinner party in which each successive course is prepared and eaten at the residence of a different host. Alternatively, each course may be eaten at a different dining area within a single large establishment. It is essentially a variant on a potluck...



The modern use of the term dates from the 17th Century French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 ruban rond (round ribbon
A ribbon or riband is a thin band of material, typically cloth but also plastic or sometimes metal, used primarily for binding and tying. Cloth ribbons, most commonly silk, are often used in connection with clothing, but are also applied for innumerable useful, ornamental and symbolic purposes...

). This described the practice of signatories to petitions against authority (usually Government officials petitioning the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

) appending their names on a document in a non-hierarchical circle or ribbon pattern (and so disguising the order in which they have signed) so that none may be identified as a ringleader.

This practice was adopted by sailors petitioning officers in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 (first recorded 1731).


In aviation, a round-robin flight is a cross-country flight that starts at one airport, travels to several other points for fly-over or touch-and-goes, and returns to the airport of origin. Such flights are often flown for cross-country training purposes.


In computing, "round-robin" describes a method of choosing a resource for a task from a list of available ones, usually for the purposes of load balancing
Load balancing (computing)
Load balancing is a computer networking methodology to distribute workload across multiple computers or a computer cluster, network links, central processing units, disk drives, or other resources, to achieve optimal resource utilization, maximize throughput, minimize response time, and avoid...

. Such may be distribution of incoming requests to a number of processors, worker threads or servers. As the basic algorithm, the scheduler selects a resource pointed to by a counter from a list, after which the counter is incremented and if the end is reached, returned to the beginning of the list. Round-robin selection has a positive characteristic of preventing starvation
Resource starvation
In computer science, starvation is a multitasking-related problem, where a process is perpetually denied necessary resources. Without those resources, the program can never finish its task....

, as every resource will be eventually chosen by the scheduler, but may be unsuitable for some applications where affinity is desirable, for example when assigning a process to a CPU
Processor affinity
Processor affinity is a modification of the native central queue scheduling algorithm in a symmetric multiprocessing operating system. Each task in the queue has a tag indicating its preferred / kin processor...

 or in link aggregation
Link aggregation
Link aggregation or trunking or link bundling or Ethernet/network/NIC bonding or NIC teaming are computer networking umbrella terms to describe various methods of combining multiple network connections in parallel to increase throughput beyond what a single connection could sustain, and to provide...



In sports, round-robin refers to every player or team in a group or pool taking turns to play one another a set number of times. This may be called the group stage (or phase) of a tournament, prior to the knock-out stage. (See Round-robin tournament
Round-robin tournament
A round-robin tournament is a competition "in which each contestant meets all other contestants in turn".-Terminology:...

 for more information).


In fan fiction
Fan fiction
Fan fiction is a broadly-defined term for fan labor regarding stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator...

, the term commonly denotes a literary work which is written by multiple authors who continually exchange the manuscript.
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