BLOCKCHAIN: Buzzword/Engineering/Science? (A distributed computing point of view)


Title:        BLOCKCHAIN: Buzzword/Engineering/Science? (A distributed computing point of view)

Time:      14:00, November 28 Wednesday,2018
Location:   Room 201, Math BuildingB
Lecturer: Michel RAYNAL  Full professor,Universite de Rennes 1


On-going discourses and debates (sometimes careful and cautious, sometimes optimistic or even very enthusiastic) consider and present “blockchains” as THE distributed computing tool which will provide us with mutual trust and safe agreement among a set of participants (some of them being possibly dishonest), liberating us from geographical and time constraints, and offering us a new trustworthy freedom dimension. Some people even clain that it is the greatest “computing science” advance since the Internet.OK, but what about it precisely (where “precisely” means “from a scientific point of view”)? Is it new? On which concepts, notions, and techniques do blockchains reply? Are there sound scientific foundations? If “yes”, which ones? Are there theoretical results which guarantee its safety? Which are its implementability limits? Etc. Adopting a historical perspective, the talk will try to (partially) answer some of these important questions. It will more specifically focus on the notion of “distributed consensus”, which is a key element when one wants to obtain mutual agreement without relying on a centralized authority.

Michel RAYNAL obtained a PhD grant from the CNRS, and defended a PhD (the topic of which was related to syn- chronization)  His research interests includes distributed algorithms, distributed computing systems, distributed computability and dependability. His main interest lies in the fundamental principles that underlie the design and the construction of distributed computing systems. Up to now, He published 167 papers in journals. These journals cover both theory and practice. He has also published 340 papers in conferences (ACM STOC, ACM PODC, ACM SPAA, IEEE ICDCS, IEEE DSN, DISC, COCOON, IEEE IPDPS, ICDCN, OPODIS, Europar, FST&TCS, IEEE SRDS, etc.), In 2015, He was awarded the Prize “Innovation in Distributed Computing” (award ceremony during tje SOROCCO 2015 conference), and was elected member of Academia Europaea. Since 2017 He has a Disginguished Chair Professor position at the department of computing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 2018,He received the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award from the IEEE Technical Committee on Distributed Processing.
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