When research papers?

Being able to independently audit DFINITY’s claims for ICP is extremely important, and I have heard a lot of mentions over the past couple years about multiple forthcoming research papers and lots of in-depth technical documentation. Just wondering on an ETA for this, or any other information.

I’m really hoping to be able to do in-depth independent analysis of the entire protocol, and learn from others’ analyses as well.

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Good question. Clearly, research is important to us as we have an entire team of researchers in cryptography, distributed systems, networking, et al.

Ok, enough self-congratulating… :slight_smile:

The simple answer to your question is that our researchers are VERY involved in the actual implementation of the Internet Computer, not just design, so they are all 100% focused on upgrading the Sodium network to Mercury launch (potentially more than what you would expect from the usual role of a researcher). Our goal is to first have a working version (I Imagine Jeff Dean published the Google’s famous Big Table paper once they had a working implementation… similarly, we want to make sure we are rock solid in practice + theory). Internally, we consider this Research + Engineering dance to be part of our “secret sauce.”

Just like you have seen a Cambrian explosion in our Medium posts and technical documentation (https://medium.com/dfinity) once we released Tungsten and Sodium networks, I expect a similar one in early 2021.

While I cannot give you a date, was that a helpful high-level answer?


This is a helpful high-level answer. I just hope you all understand that it is frustrating to the community to be left so much in the dark, and that the inability to verify your claims is a major concern. I understand somewhat the reasoning behind the secrecy, I just can’t go all-in until I have all of the information that I need, and there is a lot to be desired.

For example, I am working on a prototype with a partner, and we need a high level of privacy, potentially HIPAA and GDPR levels of privacy. We’re going to need to know the privacy implementation in extreme detail to be able to analyze if ICP will even work for us. Building the prototype on ICP right now leaves us in a bit of a risky situation, because it will be months from now, probably some time next year, before we would even know if ICP will be viable. Does that make sense?

Of course I love the vision and am happy with everything we’re being given so far, just wanted to voice this concern.


Thank you so much for the intellectually honest answer, Jordan.

It is worth noting, I think we reached a fascinating and recurring pattern I have seen and I should be open about my biases as I learn more.

(My bias: not speaking for DFINITY, but myself)

I have a bias that a working system is the most important thing so external papers can come afterward. As a former Ph.D. student, I think there is value in getting external feedback and reviewing, but I think we are at the phase where “all hands on deck” for upgrading Sodium into Mercury is where we need to ruthlessly focus (that is where my product and former-startup-founder bias comes in).

The pattern I have seen:

A curious emphasis from the community on papers before working system… I am slightly picking on your question because I really sense there is a deeper truth underneath I only superficially get, not groking. I would like to understand your intent. The more I understand your intent, the more I can try to satisfy with other things potentially.

I am curious and want to learn, from your point of view, the practical use of external research papers. The answer may be as simple as “I want to make sure you guys are building on good foundations before I invest more of my time learning about the Internet Computer”.

That is totally valid!

Thanks so much. I always appreciate the input of the well-intentioned, reasonable skeptic.


This is essentially it. I just want to know that this is all going to work out :slight_smile:


I am also eagerly awaiting technical documentation. While the narrative put forward by Dfinity is very exciting, those of us looking to build need to be able to verify the claims.

I’d love to see documentation that address the following:

  • General description of the protocol (whitepaper style).
  • Cross-chain transaction signing (how will this supercede the hub model used by PD and cosmos?)
  • Information about the data centres that will form the network (need to show sufficient decentralisation)