Felix C. Gärtner

RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (32)7.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The fair exchange problem is key to trading electronic items in systems of mutually untrusted parties. In modern variants of such systems, each party is equipped with a security module. The security modules trust each other but can only communicate by exchanging messages through their untrusted host parties, that could drop those messages. We describe a synchronous algorithm that ensures deterministic fair exchange if a majority of parties are honest, which is optimal in terms of resilience. If there is no honest majority, our algorithm degrades gracefully: it ensures that the probability of unfairness can be made arbitrarily low. Our algorithm uses, as an underlying building block, an early-stopping subprotocol that solves, in a general omission failure model, a specific variant of consensus we call biased consensus. Interestingly, this modular approach combines concepts from both cryptography and distributed computing, to derive new results on the classical fair exchange problem.
    Full-text · Chapter · Mar 2005
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    ABSTRACT: The fair exchange problem is key to trading electronic items in systems of mutually untrusted parties. We consider modern variants of such systems where each party is equipped with a tamper proof security module. The security modules trust each other but can only communicate by exchanging messages through their host parties. These are untrusted and could intercept and drop those messages. We show that the fair exchange problem at the level of untrusted parties can be reduced to an atomic commit problem at the level of trusted security modules. This reduction offers a new perspective with which fair exchange protocols can be designed. In particular, we present a new atomic commit protocol, called Monte Carlo NBAC, which helps build a new and practical fair exchange solution. The exchange does always terminate and no party commits the exchange with the wrong items. Furthermore, there is an upper bound on the the probability that the exchange ends up being unfair, and this bound is out of the control of the untrusted parties.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2005
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    Zinaida Benenson · Felix C. Gärtner · Dogan Kesdogan
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    ABSTRACT: We consider the problem of secure multi-party computation (SMC) in a new model where individual processes contain a tamper-proof security module. Security modules can be trusted by other processes and can establish secure channels between each other. However, their availability is restricted by their host, i.e., a corrupted party can stop the computation of its own security module as well as drop any message sent by or to its security module. In this model we show that SMC is solvable if and only if a majority of processes is correct. We prove this by relating SMC to the problem of Uniform Interactive Consistency among security modules (a variant of the Byzantine Generals Problem from the area of fault-tolerance). The obtained solutions to SMC for the first time allow to compute any function securely with a complexity which is polynomial only in the number of processes (i.e., the complexity does not depend on the function which is computed). We conclude that adding secure hardware does not improve the resilience of SMC but can effectively improve the efficiency.
    Preview · Conference Paper · Jan 2005
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    Ludger Fiege · Felix C. Gärtner · Oliver Kasten · Andreas Zeidler
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    ABSTRACT: Publish/subscribe (pub/sub) is considered a valuable middleware architecture that proliferates loose coupling and leverages reconfigurability and evolution. Up to now, existing pub/sub middleware was optimized for static systems where users as well as the underlying system structure was rather fixed. We study the question whether existing pub/sub middleware can be extended to support mobile and location-dependent applications.We first analyze the requirements of such applications and distinguish two orthogonal forms of mobility: the system-centric physical mobility and an application-centric logical mobility (where users are aware that they are changing location). For logical-mobility we introduce location-dependent subscriptions as a suitable means to exploit the power of the event-based paradigm in mobile applications. Briefly spoken, a location-dependent subscription offers to express interest in all events which are related to a user's current location. We present efficient implementations for both forms of mobility within the content-based pub/sub middleware Rebeca. Our solutions draw much of their efficiency from the refined routing capabilities (namely, covering and merging) of the Rebeca system.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2004 · Lecture Notes in Computer Science
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    Zinaida Benenson · Felix C. Gärtner · Dogan Kesdogan

    Preview · Conference Paper · Jan 2004
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    Gildas Avoine · Felix Gärtner · Rachid Guerraoui · Marko Vukolic

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2004
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    Felix C. Gaertner · Arshad Jhumka
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    ABSTRACT: The tolerance theory by Arora and Kulkarni views a fault-tolerant program as the composition of a fault-intolerant program and fault tolerance components called detectors and correctors.At its core, the theory assumes that the correctness specifications under consideration are fusion closed.In general, fusion closure of specifications can be achieved by adding history variables to the program. However, addition of history variables causes an exponential growth of the state space of the program.To redress this problem, we present a method which can be used to add history information to a program in a way that (in a certain sense) minimizes the additional states. Hence, automated methods that add fault tolerance can now be efficiently applied to environments with not fusion closed specifications.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2004
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    Felix C. Gaertner · Henning Pagnia
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    ABSTRACT: We present a method,of combining,a self-stabilizing algorithm with a hierarchical structure to construct a self-stabilizing algorithm with improved stabilization time complexity and fault-containment features. As a case study, a self-stabilizing spanning-tree algorithm is presented which in favorable settings has logarithmic stabilization time complexity.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2003
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    ABSTRACT: Because of its loose coupling between event producers and consumers, publish/subscribe (pub/sub) middleware has many advantages when implementing systems for spontaneous, ad-hoc, pervasive applications. One main aspect of such applications is device mobility, but unfortunately, most of the current pub/sub systems do not adequately support mobile clients. Mobility has two orthogonal aspects: physical mobility is concerned with location transparency (i.e., roaming clients) while logical mobility deals with location awareness (i.e., subscriptions are automatically adapted to a client's current location). To efficiently support mobility, it is necessary to adequately deal with the uncertainty introduced by client movement. This paper sketches how this is done in the existing pub/sub middleware REBECA and shows how to increase the efficiency of logical mobility by adapting the implementation of physical mobility. The paper closes with a list of open research issues related to the use of pub/sub middleware in the context of mobile and pervasive computing.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jan 2003
  • Felix C. Gärtner · Levente Buttyán · Klaus Kursawe

    No preview · Article · Jan 2003
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    Jürgen Bohn · Felix C. Gärtner · Harald Vogt
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    ABSTRACT: This paper proposes that the healthcare domain can serve as an archetypical field of research in pervasive computing. We present this area from a technological perspective, arguing that it provides a wide range of possible applications of pervasive computing technology. We further recognize that pervasive computing technology is likely to create concerns about the security of healthcare systems, due to increased data aggregation, ubiquitous access, and increasing dependency on technical solutions. But we also justify why the same technology can help building more robust, more dependable systems that increase the quality of healthcare. We identify building blocks that are necessary to achieve this goal: a pervasive middleware, appropriate handling of exceptional situations, and dependability assertions for small devices.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jan 2003
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    Felix C. Gaertner
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    ABSTRACT: The Byzantine failure model allows arbitrary behavior of a certain fraction of network nodes in a distributed system. It was introduced to model and analyse the effects of very severe hardware faults in aircraft control systems. Lately, the Byzantine failure model has been used in the area of network security where Byzantine-tolerance is equated with resilience against malicious attackers. We discuss two reasons why one should be careful in doing so. Firstly, Byzantine-tolerance is not concerned with secrecy and so special means have to be employed if secrecy is a desired system property. Secondly, in contrast to the domain of hardware faults, in a security setting it is difficult to compute the assumption coverage of the Byzantine failure model, i.e., the probability that the failure assumption holds in practice. For this latter point we develop a methodology which allows to estimate the reliability of a Byzantine-tolerant solution exposed to attackers of different strengths.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2003
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    Henning Pagnia · Holger Vogt · Felix C. Gärtner
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    ABSTRACT: this article is structured as follows. We state our system assumptions, give some informal definitions of fair exchange and discuss special properties of what is exchanged in Section 2. In the same section, we examine how items can be specified and how their validity can be checked. Subsequently, in Section 3, we describe several approaches to rigorously formalize the fair exchange problem and discuss under which assumptions it can be solved. In Section 4, we introduce a generalizing framework which allows us to implement several different fair exchange protocols. Then we can select the appropriate protocol depending on the properties of the exchanged items and on the required fairness level. After providing an extensive review of the work relevant to the context of fair exchange in Section 5, we conclude our paper with a summary and a discussion of our approach in Section 6
    Preview · Article · Jan 2003
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    Felix C. Gaertner
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    ABSTRACT: Self-stabilizing systems can automatically recover from arbitrary state perturbations in finite time. They are therefore well-suited for dynamic, failure prone environments. Spanning-tree construction in distributed systems is a fundamental task which forms the basis for many other network algorithms (like token circulation or routing).This paper surveys self-stabilizing algorithms that construct a spanning tree within a network of processing entities. Lower bounds and related work are also discussed.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2003
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    Felix C. Gärtner · Klaus Kursawe · Levente Buttyán

    Preview · Conference Paper · Jan 2003
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    Holger Vogt · Felix C. Gaertner · Henning Pagnia
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    ABSTRACT: Mobile commerce over the Internet always includes the exchange of electronic goods. Fair exchange protocols establish fairness and ensure that both participants can engage in the exchange without the risk of suffering a disadvantage (e.g., losing their money without receiving anything for it). In general, fair exchange protocols require the continuous availability of an external trusted third party (TTP), a dedicated site which is trusted by both participants. Implementations of TTPs for fair exchange have been proposed to be based on carefully secured Internet hosts in order to establish trust. In this paper we present solutions to the fair exchange problem in mobile environments, where customers frequently disconnect from the network and thus continuous availability of the external TTP is not given. Our approach utilizes tamper-poof hardware on the customer's side partly taking over the duties of the TTP. Besides supporting disconnected operations our approach also allows the proper handling of time-sensitive items (i.e., items which lose value over time), a feature which previous protocols lack.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2002 · Mobile Networks and Applications
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    Arshad Jhumka · Felix C. Gärtner · Christof Fetzer · Neeraj Suri
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    ABSTRACT: We present a theory of fast and perfect detector components that extends the theory of detectors and correctors of Arora and Kulkarni, and based on which, we develop an algorithm that automatically transforms a fault-intolerant program into a fail-safe fault-tolerant program. Apart from presenting novel insights into the working principles of detectors, the theory also allows the definition of a detection latency efficiency metric for a fail-safe fault-tolerant program. We prove that in contrast to an earlier algorithm by Kulkarni and Arora, our algorithm produces fail-safe fault-tolerant programs with optimal detection latency. The application area of our results is in the domain of distributed embedded applications.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2002
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    Felix C. Gärtner
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    ABSTRACT: Distinguishing trace-based system properties into safety properties on the one hand and liveness properties on the other has proven very useful for specifying and validating concurrent and fault-tolerant systems. We study the adequacy of these abstractions, especially the liveness property abstraction, in the context of secure systems for two different scenarios: (1) Denial-of-service attacks and (2) brute-force attacks on secret keys. We argue that in both cases the concept of a liveness property needs to be adapted. We show how this can be done and relate the resulting concepts to related work in the areas of concurrency theory and fault-tolerance.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2002
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    Felix C. Gärtner · Stefan Pleisch
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the amount of information about failures needed to solve the predicate detection problem in asynchronous systems with crash failures. In particular, we show that predicate detection cannot be solved with traditional failure detectors, which are only functions of failures. In analogy to the definition of failure detectors, we define a failure detection sequencer, which can be regarded as a generalization of a failure detector. More specifically, our failure detection sequencer ¿ outputs information about failures and about the final state of the crashed process. We show that ¿ is necessary and sufficient to solve predicate detection. Moreover, ¿ can be implemented in synchronous systems. Finally, we relate sequencers to perfect failure detectors and characterize the amount of knowledge about failures they additionally offer.
    Preview · Conference Paper · Jan 2002
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    Gero Mühl · Ludger Fiege · Felix C. Gärtner · Alejandro P. Buchmann
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    ABSTRACT: We present an evaluation of advanced routing algorithms for content-based publish/subscribe systems that focuses on the inherent characteristics of routing algorithms (routing table sizes and filter forwarding overhead) instead of system-specific parameters (CPU load etc.). The evaluation is based on a working prototype instead of simulations and compares several routing algorithms to each other. Moreover, the effects of locality among the interests of the consumers are investigated. The results offer new insights into the behavior of content-based routing algorithms. Firstly, advanced routing algorithms can be considered mandatory in large-scale publish/subscribe systems. Secondly, the use of advertisements considerably improves scalability. Thirdly, advanced routing algorithms operate efficiently in more dynamic environments than was previously thought. Finally, the good behavior of the algorithms improves even if the interests of the consumers are not evenly distributed, which can be expected in practice.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jan 2002

Publication Stats

942 Citations
7.42 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005
    • RWTH Aachen University
      Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2003
    • École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
      • Institute of Communication Systems
      Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
    • Eawag: Das Wasserforschungs-Institut des ETH-Bereichs
      Duebendorf, Zurich, Switzerland
    • Budapest University of Technology and Economics
      Budapeŝto, Budapest, Hungary
  • 1999-2002
    • Technical University Darmstadt
      • Group of Databases and Distributed Systems
      Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany