A Trip to Iowa
April 18, 2011, 9:56 pm
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Last week, I visited Iowa City to give an invited talk at U. of Iowa. Iowa City is a surprisingly hip place with amazing food (after all they’re close to lots of farmland). It’s a town where you can get a matcha&blueberry waffle, a pretty decent machiatto and a t-shirt reading “I was into Iowa before Iowa was cool”.

Sriram Pemmaraju was my host there. We talked a bit about his PODC  ’11 paper “Distributed Coloring in Few Rounds”, which describes a distributed algorithm that quickly colors graphs with small arboricity, and some of his recent work on epidemiology. The other theoretician I talked to in the department is Kasturi Varadarajan who told me a bit about his work on planar sensor cover – a STOC ’09 paper describes some of his older results on this problem.

My talk (new slides at this link) surveyed recent work on scalable Byzantine agreement, along with some new work on a game theoretic analysis of  conflict on a communication channel.  The questions from the audience were interesting and seemed to divide equally between making the work more practical (reducing constants, relaxing assumptions about the adversary), and making the work more theoretical (finding matching lower bounds).

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