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Department of Informatics - Communication Systems Group

03SM22MI0035 - Blockchains and Overlay Networks

Reader: Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller, Dr. Bruno Rodrigues
Assistants: Jan von der Assen, Dr. Bruno Rodrigues
ECTS Points: 6.0
Target Audience: Recommended for students in the MSc program.
Lectures: Tuesdays, 12:15-13:45
Exercises: Thursdays, 14:00-15:45
Location: BIN-2.A.10

Tuesday, 06.06.2023

Room: AND-3-02/06


Fully distributed systems, typically termed Peer-to-peer (P2P) systems, seem to fade these days, especially due to their partially commercial use and application. Additionally, many new applications tend to prefer in certain cases an overlay networks approach, such as blockchain-based systems. This lecture outlines the major technology alternatives of P2P, introduces overlay networks, analyzes key features, checks on implementation and deployability aspects, details blockchains and Smart Contracts, and investigates on scalability, efficiency, reliability, and commercial applicability. Respective security mechanisms complete the overall view. Based on a number of sample systems the potential of them is outlined and applied in a challenge task in practical exercises.


This lecture's goals encompass the gaining of knowledge of principles and protocols in fully decentralized (P2P) communications. While client/server aspects are of importance, the less traditional, but emerging peer-to-peer scheme and its integration into today's Internet is addressed in theory and in a practical challenge task to be designed and implemented. Thus, respective P2P protocol details and system aspects for will be covered, showing potentials as well as problems.


The content of this course include introduction to basic concepts, structured and unstructured P2P systems, including distributed hash tables as important building blocks. Based on these building blocks, properties and mechanisms of distributed systems, its advantages and disadvantages are presented. Topics such as mobile P2P systems applications, Bitcoin, WebRTC, P2P streaming, distributed storage are discussed as well as their technical characteristics and economic aspects.The detailed topics and timing of the lecture is available at Lecture Material.


Content of the lecture on "Computer Networks and Distributed (CNDS)" is essential. The knowledge of "Computer Engineering and Systems Software (CNSS)" is recommended, but not necessary.


Lecture slides and article printouts as needed.


Exam, as well as mandatory exercises and participation at the Challenge Task 2023.


The infomation contained on this page complements the official page at the "Vorlesungsverzeichnisses (VVZ)". In case of doubt, the official information from the VVZ is always considered valid.


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