Talks@DI | LASIGE: Rüdiger Kapitza


Speaker: Rüdiger Kapitza, professor at Technische Universität Braunschweig

Title: On the impact of trusted execution on distributed systems

When: May 22, 15h

Where: Room C6.2.38

This talk is sponsored by LASIGE (, under the project UID/CEC/00408/2019.



Distributed systems are typically shaped by considering a variety of demands such as scalability, availability and responsiveness. Prominent examples are web applications, where more and more application logic is offloaded to the browser for improved responsiveness or cloud computing where data and data processing are outsourced for scalability reasons. However, these trends are usually constrained by current trust assumptions. For web applications sensitive data and logic cannot be offloaded, as users are considered as only partially trustworthy. One of the major inhibitors of cloud usage is limited trust in operators and the complex infrastructure. With the advent of hardware-aided trusted execution, protecting code and data even from privileged system software and users, current best practices dictated by trust assumptions can be put into question.

In this talk it will be outlined how trusted execution enables to tear down or at least relax restrictive deployment schemes for distributed systems. It will be shown that existing distribution patterns can be extended such as in the case of cloud computing. As an opposite direction, it will be discussed how spare client-side resources can be utilized in the context of web-based applications and traffic analysis. Furthermore, it will be analyzed why and how so far essential client-side functionality in the context of Byzantine fault-tolerance can be offloaded to the server side. Finally, it will be highlighted that in some cases distributed computing required by trust assumptions can be centralized. In conclusion, trusted execution is not only a step towards improved security but also offers more flexibility for distributed systems.



Rüdiger Kapitza obtained his PhD from the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg in 2007. In 2010, he was a visiting scientist at IBM Research Zurich. Since 2012, he is a professor at the Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig. There he leads the Distributed Systems Group at the Institute of Operating Systems and Computer Networks. His research interests can be broadly summarized as systems research targeting fault-tolerant and secure distributed systems.