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How does openstack controller know if compute node is down

I am working on a openstack auto heal function. We can know if a compute node is off from command-line interface by using command like nova service-list / nova hypervisor-list or through equivalent REST Call, but how does controller know it from the first place.

Controller and compute communicate with each other from RabbitMQ. Is there any 'keep alive' messages being passing through in RabbitMQ. Or when compute node is down, will any messages be published in RabbitMQ.