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Foundations of Information, Networks, and Decision Systems

Talk Information 05/12/2022

Title: The Overlooked Role of Communication Networks in Blockchain Design

Speaker: Giulia Fanti
Date and Time: 05/12/2022 4:10PM ET
Location: Phillips 233 and Zoom

Abstract: Blockchains have become an important tool for maintaining distributed ledgers among mutually untrusting parties. As the systems that use these ledgers (e.g., cryptocurrencies) grow in popularity, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure their robustness along multiple axes, such as performance, security, privacy, and fairness. To date, most of the literature on these topics has tackled them at the application layer. In this talk, we will instead discuss the role that communication networks play in designing robust blockchain systems. We will illustrate this point through two case studies focusing on privacy and fairness. In these case studies, we highlight how careful modeling, analysis, and design of underlying communication networks can have implications at other layers. These design and analysis challenges introduce new problem formulations combining elements of graph algorithms, random processes, and distributed systems. 

Bio: Giulia Fanti is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests span the security, privacy, and efficiency of distributed systems. She is a two-time fellow of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cybersecurity and a member of NIST’s Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board. Her work has been recognized with best paper awards, a Sloan Fellowship, an Intel Rising Star Faculty Research Award, and a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Young Investigator Grant. She obtained her Ph.D. in EECS from U.C. Berkeley and her B.S. in ECE from Olin College of Engineering.