History of Mobile Process Calculi

by Joshy Orndorff

In 1992 Robin Milner et al introduced the pi calculus, a member of the mobile process calculus family, as a new and novel model of computation [paper]. The pi calculus has several properties that make it an attractive option for modern programming. It is Turing complete, allows for straight-forward compositional programming, and is fundamentally concurrent. With the appropriate structure on it's channels, it allows for programming with in object capability paradigm.

History of Blockchain

In 2009 Bitcoin introduced the proof of work blockchain allowing mutually distrusting parties to coordinate permissionlessly through a currency. In 2013 Ethereum generalized that idea to coordinate on arbitrary computations through a system of smart contracts. Both systems have been successful but have struggled to scale.

Progress has been made toward scaling Bitcoin-like UTXO systems through concurrent consensus algorithms [spectre, cbc casper, hashgraph, casanova]. However even these algorithms will not scale Ethereum as it's computational model is inherently sequential and totally-ordered.

Recently, several blockchain projects are beginning to explore smart contracting solutions based on mobile process calculi [RChain, Ambients] rather than traditional sequential models like Ethereum. Such projects will be able to take advantage of concurrent consensus.

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