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Simulation study of FBC

The IOTA Research Department recently published the Fast Probabilistic Consensus Simulator.

Today, we are excited to share with you the corresponding research paper on arxiv that studies various properties of the FPC. We invite you to take a look at this research paper. We also want to give you a short overview of what kind of results we have obtained.

The abstract tells us:

This paper investigates leaderless binary majority consensus protocols with low computational complexity in noisy Byzantine infrastructures. Using computer simulations, we show that explicit randomization of the consensus protocol can significantly increase the robustness towards faulty and malicious nodes. We identify the optimal amount of randomness for various Byzantine attack strategies on different kinds of network topologies.

Let’s see what all these “fancy” terms mean. In the current IOTA tangle consensus is achieved by the coordinator. One core module of Coordicide is FPC, a distributed consensus protocol. Distributed consensus protocols allow networked systems to agree on a common opinion in situations in which centralized decision making is difficult, impossible or unwanted.

As distributed computing is inherently unreliable, it is necessary to reach consensus in noisy or Byzantine infrastructures. The latter is equivalent to the presence of malicious nodes that try to attack the protocol. The word noisy refers to nodes that may be faulty or to possible message loss.

The FPC is leaderless since it does not require a (elected) leader. An advantage of this is that every node can update its opinion locally without having to wait for the coordination of the leader. In FPC every node queries a random sample of other nodes and adopts the opinion of the majority. In the basic version there are only two possible opinions so we speak of binary majority consensus.

Previous protocols in the class of leaderless binary majority consensus protocols are:...

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