This talk will present federated Byzantine agreement (FBA), a generalization of the standard Byzantine agreement problem. Unlike traditional Byzantine agreement–which presupposes unanimous agreement on system membership–the FBA model grants organizations individual control over whom to trust, allowing membership to grow organically out of pairwise relationships between participants. Compared to proof-of-work and proof-of-stake, two other decentralized alternatives to Byzantine agreement, FBA enables far more efficient constructions with greater margins of computational security. The talk will further present the Stellar consensus protocol (SCP), the first FBA protocol. SCP forms the backbone of the Stellar payment network, where it secures financial transactions. Other potential applications include
secure timestamping and strengthening certificate transparency.
David Mazières is a professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he leads the Secure Computer Systems research group. He also serves as Chief Scientist at Stellar Development Foundation and is a founder of Intrinsic, Inc. Prof. Mazières received a BS in Computer Science from Harvard in 1994 and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2000. Prof. Mazières’s research interests include Operating Systems and Distributed Systems, with a particular focus on security. Some of the projects he and his students have worked on include SFS (a self-certifying network file system), SUNDR (a file system that introduced the notion of fork linearizability), Kademlia (a widely used peer-to-peer routing algorithm), Coral (a peer-to-peer content distribution network), HiStar (a secure operating system based on decentralized information flow control), tcpcrypt (a TCP option providing forward-secure encryption), Hails (a web framework that can preserve privacy while incorporating untrusted third-party apps), Dune (a driver granting linux processes safe access to privileged CPU features), and COWL (an information-flow-control-based browser security architecture). Prof. Mazières has several awards including an Oakland distinguished paper award (2014), Sloan award (2002), USENIX best paper award (2001), NSF CAREER award (2001), MIT Sprowls best thesis in computer science award (2000).