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Polygraph: Accountable Byzantine Agreement

Proceedings of the 41st IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS'21). Proceedings of the 34th International Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC'20). Workshop on Verification of Distributed Systems (VDS'19) collocated with NETYS 2019.

Authored by:
Pierre Civit, University of Sydney
Seth Gilbert, NUS
Vincent Gramoli, University of Sydney

Over the last several years we have seen a boom in the development of new Byzantine agreement protocols, in large part driven by the excitement over blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

Unfortunately, Byzantine agreement protocols have inherent limitations: it is impossible to ensure correct operation when more than 1/3 of the processing power in the system is controlled by a single malicious party unless the network can guarantee perfect synchrony in communication. At first, one might hope to relax the liveness guarantees, while always ensuring safety.

Alas, in a partially synchronous network, this type of guarantee is impossible. If the adversary controls more than 1/3 of the computing power, it can always force disagreement. In this paper, we propose Polygraph, the first accountable Byzantine agreement solution. The idea, to offer accountability guarantees to participants of the service.

This paper was co-authored by our CTO and Founder Professor Vincent Gramoli.

Professor Vincent Gramoli is a full professor at the University of Sydney. He is a researcher in the field of distributed systems and algorithms, with a focus on the design and analysis of distributed systems and algorithms for shared memory and data-centric systems, including distributed hash tables, distributed shared memory and transactional memory. He has published numerous papers in top-tier conferences and journals in the field and has received several awards for his research. He is also currently serving as the Head of Concurrent Systems Research Group at the University of Sydney.

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