Re: [Ilc] Clarifications and thoughts purpose of ILC list

Tao Effect <contact@taoeffect.com> Thu, 16 February 2017 22:14 UTC

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From: Tao Effect <contact@taoeffect.com>
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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:14:00 -0800
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To: David Mazieres expires 2017-05-17 PDT <mazieres-mz25ifj75g4n88b2gifq6ry7pn@temporary-address.scs.stanford.edu>
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Subject: Re: [Ilc] Clarifications and thoughts purpose of ILC list
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> The fact that the term consensus has a colloquial meaning may be
> generating confusion among some members of the list.

Which members? Bang them! >:-D

> As intended in the
> list name, the term consensus refers to a narrow distributed systems
> definition, namely the problem for a group of nodes to pick an input
> value such that there is both agreement (all nodes output the same
> value) and validity (the output equals one of the valid inputs, ruling
> out vacuous solutions like always outputting zero).  This is not to be
> confused with other meanings of the word, as in "rough consensus and
> running code," or consensus in any kind of a governance context.

I'm told they're fully aware of that.

> Many kinds of distributed system leverage some a consensus mechanism.
> At a high level, one of the things we might want to discuss in this list
> is whether it could be beneficial for the IETF to standardize some kind
> of consensus protocol or service.

As stated before on this list [1, 2], and as stated elsewhere on the web in semi-mathematical form [3,4], if such a consensus protocol or service is used with Certificate Transparency or anything else related to DNS, that would be to kill the Internet.

But you're welcome to work on a consensus-agnostic protocol if your intentions are benevolent.

- Greg

[1] https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ilc/BmFgooRm5GikT6mwhx9yOZgL1G8 <https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ilc/BmFgooRm5GikT6mwhx9yOZgL1G8>
[2] https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ilc/tUirMiYqzIogI1S14qRKhY8Fz0E <https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ilc/tUirMiYqzIogI1S14qRKhY8Fz0E>
[3] https://blog.bigchaindb.com/the-dcs-triangle-5ce0e9e0f1dc#.24dexymvl <https://blog.bigchaindb.com/the-dcs-triangle-5ce0e9e0f1dc#.24dexymvl>
[4] https://github.com/WebOfTrustInfo/rebooting-the-web-of-trust-fall2016/blob/master/topics-and-advance-readings/Slepaks-Triangle.pdf <https://github.com/WebOfTrustInfo/rebooting-the-web-of-trust-fall2016/blob/master/topics-and-advance-readings/Slepaks-Triangle.pdf>

--
Please do not email me anything that you are not comfortable also sharing with the NSA.

> On Feb 16, 2017, at 1:58 PM, dm-list-ietf-ilc@scs.stanford.edu <mailto:dm-list-ietf-ilc@scs.stanford.edu> wrote:
> 
> The fact that the term consensus has a colloquial meaning may be
> generating confusion among some members of the list.  As intended in the
> list name, the term consensus refers to a narrow distributed systems
> definition, namely the problem for a group of nodes to pick an input
> value such that there is both agreement (all nodes output the same
> value) and validity (the output equals one of the valid inputs, ruling
> out vacuous solutions like always outputting zero).  This is not to be
> confused with other meanings of the word, as in "rough consensus and
> running code," or consensus in any kind of a governance context.
> 
> Many kinds of distributed system leverage some a consensus mechanism.
> At a high level, one of the things we might want to discuss in this list
> is whether it could be beneficial for the IETF to standardize some kind
> of consensus protocol or service.  Such an effort could provide a useful
> building block for new or enhanced applications such as Internet
> payments, auditable software packages, end-to-end email encryption, and
> probably more things I haven't thought of yet.  The goal of this list is
> certainly not to replace existing protocols or to change Internet
> governance.
> 
> While obviously consensus mechanisms have been around for decades, one
> recent development has been the advent of so-called permissionless
> consensus mechanisms with open membership.  These mechanisms allow new
> types of system, for instance ones in which mutually distrustful parties
> with no pre-existing relationship can execute atomic transactions
> together.  If we abstract the Internet slightly (maybe pretending some
> centralized IANA-controled identifiers are public keys anyone could have
> unilaterally allocated), the Internet, too, starts to look like a
> permissionless system.  That's where this idea of "Internet-level"
> consensus originates.  Does it make sense to leverage the permissionless
> aspects of the Internet to implement some sort of permissionless
> consensus mechanism?  Should the IETF be undertaking efforts along these
> lines?  Could such efforts benefit existing IETF efforts or solve
> existing challenges?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes,
> then this mailing list is the place to start throwing out ideas...
> 
> David
> 
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