Foundational Aspects of the Blockchain Consensus (After-Hours Seminar)

Date(s) - 12/02/2019
18:30 - 20:30

Ecole Polytechnique, Drahi-X



Bernadette Charron-Bost, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique


Decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have ignited much excitement, not only for their novel realisation of central bank-free financial instruments, but also as an alternative approach for the development of numerous distributed applications in which agreement must be reached without central control and despite misbehaving parties. The soundness and security of these applications, however, hinge on the thorough understanding of the fundamental properties of their underlying blockchain data structure that parties (“miners”) maintain and try to extend by generating “proofs of work”.

In this talk we formulate such fundamental properties of the blockchain — “common prefix”, “chain quality”, “chain growth” — and show how the blockchain consensus differs from the classical problem of consensus in distributed computing and from the consensus in control theory. We analyse the impact of different setups, computational assumptions, and network models on the various properties of the blockchain consensus. We also examine the crucial role of the “proofs of work” for achieving network synchrony on top of unstructured P2P networks.

About The Speaker

Bernadette Charron-Bost received her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris in 1989. She is currently “Directrice de Recherche” at CNRS and located since 1994 at the laboratory of CS at the Ecole polytechnique. Much of her work is on fundamental aspects of Distributed Computing, in particular on fault tolerance and computational models for the design and the analysis of fault-tolerant distributed systems. More recently, her research interests also include asymptotic consensus in multi-agent systems, with application to biological systems and opinion dynamics.


When and Where:

This after-hours seminar is being held at Ecole Polytechnique, in the classroom in DrahiX, on:

February 12, 2019, from 18h30-20h30

For Whom:

Everybody is welcome. Registration is mandatory (but free).


Bookings are closed for this event.

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