University of Massachusetts Amherst

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COMPSCI 590P: Secure Distributed Systems

Next Offered: 

2017-01-23

This is a class devoted to the study of securing distributed systems, with decentralized digital currencies called blockchains serving as our real platform of interest. We'll start with the fundamentals of Lamport's, Fischer's, and Douceur's results that fence-in consensus systems, beyond blockchains. We'll also look at the efficiency of the network architectures for peer-to-peer communication and attacks on their security such as denial of service attacks). And we'll review applied crypto such as elliptical curves used, for example, to maintain message integrity. Other topics include privacy and attribution, economics and finance, and crime. Even if systems could be "fully secured" against all technical vulnerabilities they would still play a role in violating higher-layer policies, and a portion of the course will be devote to finance, law, and economics as they related to distributed systems. Assignments will include programming projects and reading research papers. The grade is also based on exams and participation in discussion. This course counts as a CS Elective toward the CS major (BA/BS), as well an Any 2 menu choice for the Security & Privacy track. 3 credits

Location: 

Online only; or Amherst campus (students pick)