Protocol Labs Research
Our mission urges us to consider problems across multiple subject areas, both applied and theoretical. We pursue these problems in the open and share our results in recorded talks and published papers.

Research Groups

The purpose of CryptoLab is to develop and apply new cryptographic tools to secure computation and communication systems. Much of the past and current work includes designing, proving, and improving the building blocks enabling Filecoin: a decentralized storage network.

The mission of the Resilient Networks Lab is to build resilient distributed systems, by creating and operating a platform where researchers can collaborate openly and asynchronously on deep technical work.

Research Areas

We aim to use learnings from previous efforts, growth in available data, and ambitions of qualitatively novel capabilities to facilitate the discovery, linking, and processing of knowledge. This work primarily consists of support for The Underlay, a project intending to build a global, distributed graph of public knowledge.

A long-term goal for the IPFS ecosystem is to merge distributed apps and local apps into a single paradigm: fundamentally rethinking the UNIX programming model for a content-addressable platform. As a component of this, we aspire to make the best use of state-of-the-art advances in programming language design and implementation, such as substructural types, modal types, and algebraic effects.

Category theory (CT) originated as a subdiscipline of pure mathematics, with a historical strength in unifying disparate mathematical areas to transport proofs and constructions between them. CT can also be viewed as an upgraded foundation for all of math, taking the place traditionally occupied by first-order logic and set theory, and is commonly used in theoretical computer science (especially type theory), and as a foundation for computational theorem-proving.

Distributed systems are, broadly speaking, networked systems whose components are located in different nodes that communicate and coordinate to achieve the system’s purpose. Distributed systems are at the very core of what we do and our interests extend across the entire field.

Modern cryptography plays an integral role in every aspect of online and electronic security, including providing evidence you’re speaking to the intended party and hindering spying on the subsequent communication. Cutting-edge cryptography tools will allow the creation of incredibly strong evidence that general information processing has been performed in a privacy-preserving and trustless way.

In any forum or marketplace where people can interact, the venue itself guides and constrains human interaction. Cryptoeconomics provides practices, tools, and knowledge that allow us to engineer the venue to achieve a goal.

Our electricity system is undergoing a monumental transition from a centralized design based on fossil fuels to a distributed architecture based on renewable energy. Successfully navigating this requires reconceiving the grid as a distributed system, able to coordinate diverse resources and influence the deployment of capital by setting up appropriate incentive structures.

Computer networks enable information to move across the globe. They are foundational to the world we live in and to the vast majority of our work. Our interests include transport and routing protocols, network security, p2p systems, publish-subscribe protocols, and network monitoring and simulation.

Recent Talks

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Vector commitment techniques and applications to verifiable decentralized storage
Theory and Practice of Blockchains 2020 / 2020.07.01
Matteo Campanelli, Dario Fiore, Nicola Greco , Luca Nizzardo , Dimitris Kolonelos

Recent Publications

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2020.10.7 / Conference paper
Cloud provider connectivity in the flat Internet
The Tier-1 ISPs have been considered the Internet’s backbone since the dawn of the modern Internet 30 years ago, as they guarantee global reachability. However, their influence and importance are waning as Internet flattening decreases the demand for transit services and increases the importance of private interconnections.
ACM IMC 2020 / 2020.10.27
Todd Arnold, Jia He, Weifan Jiang, Matthew Calder, Italo Cunha, Vasilis Giotsas , Ethan Katz-Bassett
2020.10.7 / Conference paper
Reduce, reuse, recycle: Repurposing existing measurements to identify stale traceroutes
Many systems rely on traceroutes to monitor or characterize the Internet. The quality of the systems’ inferences depends on the completeness and freshness of the traceroutes, but the refreshing of traceroutes is constrained by limited resources at vantage points.
ACM IMC 2020 / 2020.10.27
Vasilis Giotsas , Thomas Koch, Elverton Fazzion, Italo Cunha, Matt Calder, Harsha V. Madhyastha, Ethan Katz-Bassett
2020.8.27 / Report
Engineering Filecoin’s economy
As a novel data storage and distribution network, the Filecoin Network’s mission is to create a decentralized, efficient, and robust foundation for humanity’s information. This mission will be advanced by incentivizing consistent growth and development of the Filecoin Network’s economy.
Protocol Labs
2020.7.6 / Report
GossipSub: Attack-resilient message propagation in the Filecoin and ETH2.0 networks
Permissionless blockchain environments necessitate the use of a fast and attack-resilient message propagation protocol for Block and Transaction messages to keep nodes synchronised and avoid forks. We present GossipSub, a gossip-based pubsub protocol, which, in contrast to past pubsub protocols, incorporates resilience against a wide spectrum of attacks.
Dimitris Vyzovitis, Yusef Napora, Dirk McCormick, David Dias , Yiannis Psaras