Protocol Labs Research
2021-11-28 / News, Team
Vivien Quéma joins PL Research as an advisor to ConsensusLab

We are happy to announce that Vivien Quéma will be joining PL Research’s ConsensusLab as a research advisor. Vivien is a Professor of Computer Science at Grenoble INP and a member of the LIG laboratory. He currently devotes his attention to Byzantine fault tolerance, multicore systems, and P2P systems.

Vivien will initially focus on advising ConsensusLab’s work on parallel execution in WASM order-execute models, with the goal of eventually enabling efficient, high-performance FVM computation over arbitrary data.

We asked Vivien about the journey that brought him to PL, the projects he will be working on, and his thoughts about future technological developments:

How did you decide to become an advisor to PL?

I have known Marko Vukolic (head of ConsensusLab) for more than 10 years. We have collaborated on several research projects related to Byzantine Fault Tolerance. Our collaboration led to papers in major conferences and journals of the field (EuroSys, OSDI, ACM TOCS). A few weeks after joining PL, Marko presented to me the company, its high-level goal (to design the next generation of the Internet!), and the challenges currently tackled by ConsensusLab to reach that goal. This immediately raised my interest. I am very excited by the idea to work as a research advisor, thus contributing to building the future of the Internet.

What problems are you currently most interested in?

I am working in the broad domain of «computer systems». I am interested in different kinds of systems, ranging from operating systems to large-scale distributed systems. My research goal is to improve the efficiency and the robustness of those systems. Regarding efficiency, I am working on the design of profiling tools for debugging the performance of both centralized and distributed systems, and on concepts and techniques to improve the efficiency of various algorithms (e.g. scheduling algorithms for operating systems, consensus protocols for distributed systems). Regarding robustness, I am studying algorithmic techniques to improve the robustness of complex computer systems. In particular, I am working on tolerating two kinds of computer misbehaviours: computers that act selfishly (i.e. computers minimizing their contributions when collaborating with other computers), and computers that can act arbitrarily (thus leading to Byzantine failures).

What future technology are you most excited about?

In the short to medium term, I strongly believe that smart contracts and blockchains can change the way we design distributed systems. Indeed, these technologies will enable the development of truly decentralized systems (i.e. systems where multiple authorities control different components and no authority is fully trusted by all). In the long term, I think that Quantum Computers might revolutionize our lives… but the road ahead is still very long!