In a blockchain protocol such as Bitcoin, the users see the world as a sequence of states. A simple yet functional view of this world, for the purpose of analysis, is a Boolean string of zeros and ones, where each bit is independently biased towards favoring the “bad guys.”
A bad guy is activated when for some . He may try to present the good guys with a conflicting view of the world, such as presenting multiple candidate blockchains of equal length. This view is called a “fork”. A string that allows the bad guy to fork (with nonnegligible probability) is called a “forkable string”. Naturally, we would like to show that forkable strings are rare: that the manipulative power of the bad guys over the good guys is negligible.
Claim (, Bound 2). Suppose is a Boolean string, with every bit independently set to with probability for some . The probability that is forkable is at most .
In this post, we present a commentary on the proof that forkable strings are rare. I like the proof because it uses simple facts about random walks, generating functions, and stochastic domination to bound an apparently difficult random process.
Continue reading “Forkable Strings are Rare”
In this post, I will discuss my own understanding of the spectral sparsification paper by Daniel Spielman and Nikhil Srivastava (STOC 2008). I will assume the following:
- The reader is a beginner, like me, and have already glanced through the Spielman-Srivastava paper (from now on, the SS paper).
- The reader has, like me, a basic understanding of spectral sparsification and associated concepts of matrix analysis. I will assume that she has read and understood the Section 2 (Preliminaries) of the SS paper.
- The reader holds a copy of the SS paper while reading my post.
First, I will mention the main theorems (actually, I will mention only what they “roughly” say).
Continue reading “Spectral Sparsification by Spielman and Srivastava: How They Connected the Dots”