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Organick Lecture Series – Maurice Herlihy
October 19, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
An Wang Professor of Computer Science
Friday, October 19, 2018
Host: Ganesh Gopalakrishnan
Atomic Cross-Chain Swaps
Abstract:An atomic cross-chain swap is a distributed coordination task where multiple parties exchange assets across multiple blockchains, for example, trading bitcoin for ether. An atomic swap protocol guarantees (1) if all parties conform to the protocol, then all swaps take place, (2) if some coalition deviates from the protocol, then no conforming party ends up worse off, and (3) no coalition has an incentive to deviate from the protocol.
A cross-chain swap is modeled as a directed graph D, whose vertexes are parties and whose arcs are proposed asset transfers. For any pair (D,L), where D=(V,A) is a strongly-connected directed graph and L⊂V a feedback vertex set for D, we give an atomic cross-chain swap protocol for D, using a form of hashed timelock contracts, where the vertexes in L generate the hashlocked secrets. We show that no such protocol is possible if D is not strongly connected, or if D is strongly connected but L is not a feedback vertex set.
Bio: Maurice Herlihy has an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from M.I.T. He has served on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University and the staff of DEC Cambridge Research Lab. He is the recipient of the 2003 Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing, the 2004 Gödel Prize in theoretical computer science, the 2008 ISCA influential paper award, the 2012 Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize, and the 2013 Wallace McDowell award. He received a 2012 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Lecturing Fellowship, and he is fellow of the ACM, a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.