University of Connecticut

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Math Club
The Byzantine Generals Problem
Matthew Badger (UConn)

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
5:30pm – 6:30pm

Storrs Campus
Monteith 214

I will give an overview of an important paper in theoretical computer science that anticipated trust issues related to blockchains over 25 years before the first cryptocurrency was created. This paper, by Lamport, Shostak, and Pease, introduced the Byzantine Generals Problem. Here is how they described this problem.

"Reliable computer systems must handle [...] components that give conflicting information to different parts of the system. This situation can be expressed abstractly in terms of a group of generals of the Byzantine army camped with their troops around an enemy city. Communicating only by messenger, the generals must agree upon a common battle plan. However, one or more of them may be traitors who will try to confuse the others. The problem is to find an algorithm to ensure that the loyal generals will reach agreement."

The authors showed that, using public messages, this problem is solvable if and only if over two-thirds of the generals are loyal.

Note: Free refreshments. The talk starts at 5:40.

Contact:

Keith Conrad (kconrad@math.uconn.edu)

Math Club (primary), UConn Master Calendar

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