The lookup singularity

Justin Thaler

Justin Thaler (a16z crypto) discusses how Lasso and Jolt, a fundamentally new approach to SNARK design, may achieve Barry Whitehat’s vision of the “lookup singularity”.

In more detail, the objective of the singularity is for front-ends to produce circuits that only perform lookups. Barry anticipated many benefits, especially to auditability and formal verification. It’s easier to audit a single lookup argument and various lookup tables, versus thousands of lines of hand-coded constraints. Barry acknowledged that existing lookup arguments have performance limitations, but anticipated improvements.

About the presenter

Justin Thaler is Research Partner at a16z crypto and an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Georgetown University. His research interests include verifiable computing, complexity theory, and algorithms for massive data sets. In 2011, he produced the first implementation of a general-purpose interactive proof system. He is the author of a comprehensive survey on SNARKs titled Proofs, Arguments, and Zero-Knowledge, and a co-creator of Apache DataSketches, an open-source library of production-quality streaming algorithms.Before joining a16z crypto and Georgetown, Justin was a Research Scientist at Yahoo Labs. Before that he completed her PhD in Computer Science at Harvard University.

About a16z crypto research

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