Our mission is to build resilient public infrastructure for the world’s data.

The theme of our work is decentralization: Inspired by peer-to-peer networks and cryptocurrencies, we build distributed systems for broad applications, that resist attacks while minimizing their reliance on trusted external parties. Our approach is multidisciplinary, combining methods from distributed computing, cryptography, programming languages, network measurement, and mechanism design.


  • DSL awarded an NSF grant for automated support for writing high assurance smart contracts. [NSF]
  • Xiaoyao Qian submitted his M.S thesis in Spring 2018 [Print]
  • Surya Bakshi completed and deposited his M.S. ECE thesis in Spring 2018.
  • Check out our participation in the Zcash “Powers of Tau” ceremony using radioactive toxic waste from Chernobyl! [Article 1], [Article 2]
  • Tom’s paper Reactive redundancy for data destruction protection (R2D2) has been accepted for publication to Computers & Security
We support and learn from cutting-edge cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zcash, and more)


We create Blockchain technology. Many industries, including finance, healthcare, and more, would benefit from more automation and more information sharing, but security concerns remain an obstacle. The “Blockchain” movement is an industry-wide effort to solve this problem by building new platforms for shared data, with security designed-in from the start. We contribute by making fundamental advances that combine techniques from fault tolerant and dependable/reliable systems, cryptography, and programming languages.



  • Surya Bakshi (Ph.D, ECE)
  • Kevin Liao (Ph.D., CS)
  • Hanyun Xu (M.S., CS)
  • Tom Yurek (Ph.D., CS)
  • Yunqi Li (Ph.D, ECE)
  • Samarth Kulshreshtha (M.S., CS)
  • Rahul Mahadev (M.S., CS)
  • Sanket Kanjalkar (M.S. CS)
  • Joseph Kuo (Undergrad, CS)


  • Xiaoyao Qian (Masters, CS)    Now at NADGrid
  • Chris Cordi (Masters, CS)    Now at Sandia
  • Kevin Lee (Undergrad, ECE)   Now a PhD student at Princeton
  • Abhiram Kothapalli (Undergrad, CS)   Now a PhD student at CMU
  • Sergi Delgado Segura (visitor)   Postdoc at University College London
  • Patrick McCorry (visitor)   Lecturer at King’s College London

Decentralized Systems Lab is part of Security and Privacy Research @ Illinois (SPR@I).