Byzantine Paxos to Solve Consensus in Blockchain Technology

  • Byzantine Paxos to Solve Consensus in Blockchain Technology

School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
& ECIT Global Research Institute

Proposed Project Title: Byzantine Paxos to Solve Consensus in Blockchain Technology

Principal Supervisor:   Dr Hans Vandierendonck
Second Supervisor:      Prof Dimitrios S. Nikolopoulos
Third Supervisor:         Dr Yeturu Ahlaad (WANDisco)

Project Description:

Blockchains provide distributed trustless consensus between a number of actors through a mechanism known as proof of work. Proof of work involves finding a nonce value with rare properties. The principle behind Proof of Work is that calculating the nonce is computationally hard while verifying it is easy. By sealing a sequence of transactions using proof of work it becomes exponentially hard for a malicious actor to present a falsified view on completed transactions. Proof of work is expensive (computation of the proof of work is financially rewarded) but also non-scalable: as the number of users grows, the reward decreases. Proof of work is one particular approach to reaching distributed trustless consensus. There exist many other algorithms to solve either the consensus problem or the trust problem, e.g., using encryption or distributed consensus algorithms.

The goal of this project to evaluate the role of Byzantine fault-tolerant consensus algorithms in blockchain technology and to re-design blockchain algorithms in order to improve their scalability and cost. The insight driving this project is that Byzantine fault-tolerance provides alternative and scalable means to realise trust between a well-defined set of participants where correctness of information is guaranteed even when a small number of participants is compromised. The focus of this project will be on distributed fault-tolerant algorithms, their scalability and their application to guarantee correctness of data stored jointly between the participants.

This project is sponsored by WANDisco, a company specialised in distributed consensus algorithms. In the context of this collaboration, the student will visit the company at multiple occasions.

Contact details

Supervisor Name: Hans Vandierendonck                                                         Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4654
QUB Address: Computer Science Building, 18 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5BN      Email: