DISC 2014 The 28th International Symposium on Distributed Computing


Tutorial Slides

Slides of all tutorials can now be found on this page in the corresponding section.


  • Bitcoin: Concepts, Practice, and Research Directions
    Speakers: Emin Gün Sirer and Ittay Eyal
    Slides: part 1 (pdf-file)part 2 (pdf-file)
    Abstract: An anonymous hacker has recently built and deployed a large scale open Byzantine fault tolerant consensus system. Called Bitcoin, this system has proven its robustness since 2009 against the most malicious of adversaries. It relies on a combination of incentives in the form of money, protected by deceivingly simple cryptographic mechanisms. In this tutorial, we will describe the Bitcoin protocol and its implementation in the real world, cover technically significant events in its short history, and discuss research results and possible extensions.
    The tutorial will start with a comprehensive discussion of the Bitcoin protocol, including the structure of transactions, the structure of the peer-to-peer network, and the operation of the mining industry. It will cover prominent research results from the literature, including network measurements, theory, security and cryptography, as well as frequently discussed extensions to the core protocol, such as colored coins and side chains. Finally, we will discuss some of the critical events in Bitcoin’s history such as famous heists, exchange failures, and legal barriers, illustrate the technical issues they each highlight, and examine their role in shaping Bitcoin’s thriving ecosystem.
  • Agents and Reagents: Distributed Systems in a Test Tube
    Speakers: David Doty and David Soloveichik
    Slides: part 1 (pdf-file)part 2 (pdf-file)
    Abstract: The engineering of chemical systems capable of computation — in environments inherently incompatible with electronics — will herald exciting breakthroughs: from programmable living cells, to “smart drugs” that make treatment decisions within the body. To understand how chemical reactions can process information, make decisions, and solve problems, we must develop formal models of chemical computing. For a century and a half, chemical reaction networks in various forms have been used to model chemical interactions (i.e., sets of chemical reactions such as A + B → A + C). Recent advances in molecular engineering have gone beyond naturally occurring reactions, yielding programmable molecules that obey prescribed reaction rules. Understanding and designing information processing in such chemical reaction networks is a quintessential distributed computing problem: vast numbers (trillions are routine in experiments) of computationally weak molecules interact asynchronously. Already, intimate connections between chemical reaction networks and formal models of distributed computing such as population protocols and vector addition systems have provided fundamental insights and resolved open problems about chemical computation. In turn, the study of chemical algorithms is generating a wealth of new research questions for distributed computing.
  • Link Reversal Algorithms
    Speaker: Jennifer L. Welch
    Slides: pptx-file
    Abstract: Link reversal is a versatile algorithm design technique that has been used in numerous distributed algorithms for a variety of problems. This tutorial presents a representative sampling of the work on link-reversal-based distributed algorithms, including routing, leader election, mutual exclusion, distributed queuing, scheduling, and resource allocation. First, correctness and complexity results for abstract graph-theoretic versions of the problems are presented. Then extensions to handle more realistic model details are discussed.


8:30 – 10:00 am First Half of Tutorial “Bitcoin: Concepts, Practice, and Research Directions”, presented by Emin Gün Sirer and Ittay Eyal
10:00 – 10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am – 12:00 pm Second Half of Tutorial “Bitcoin: Concepts, Practice, and Research Directions”, presented by Emin Gün Sirer and Ittay Eyal
12:00 – 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm Tutorial “Agents and Reagents: Distributed Systems in a Test Tube”, presented by David Doty and David Soloveichik
3:00 – 3:30 pm Coffee Break
3:30 – 5:00 pm Tutorial “Link Reversal Algorithms”, presented by Jennifer L. Welch
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