Tess Rinearson

VP of Engineering at Interstellar


All Together Now: An Introduction to Distributed Consensus
Friday 15:50 - 16:35
distributed systems

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How can you get a group of computers to come to consensus? It’s a problem that computer scientists have studied for decades, but it’s gained attention again recently, as blockchains and cryptocurrencies rely on consensus algorithms to operate safely.

This talk introduces the consensus problem, and surveys many of the algorithms that claim to solve it. It covers historical academic approaches, as well as newer algorithms used in blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, detailing the mechanics and tradeoffs of each. Attendees will leave with a more intuitive understanding of how the algorithms work, and why they matter.


Tess Rinearson is the VP of Engineering at Interstellar, a new company formed by Stellar and Chain, building new tools and products with the Stellar network. She’s worked on storage and protocol problems for permissioned blockchains, and has written a popular bitcoin explainer using emoji. Before Chain, she was a full stack engineer at Medium.