Syllabus, Learn Mix Networks for Great Good

(maybe the second title should be: Prevent Murder using Mathematics)

Course Syllabus And Reading List

There are no good introductory papers on mix networks. Instead, the approach is to read all the really important academic papers on mix networks. These papers are roughly organized into several categories such as:

Missing from this list are verified shuffles. These are specialized mix strategies which at times are very useful for specific use cases such as voting.

In a few of these mixnet sections I have included youtube videos I've made to help explain some of the fundamental mixnet concepts. As you read these mixnet papers keep in mind that decryption mixnets have the following attack categories:

  • tagging attacks
  • n-1 attacks
  • compulsion attacks
  • statistical disclosure attacks
  • epistemic attacks

After all this mix network literature we turn to the Classical Packet Switching Network Literature below in the next major section of reading. Many of these important papers happen to not be academic papers but rather come from industry / IETF and are RFCs. Why read these? Aren’t mixnet papers enough? Yes if you want to only publish papers on mix networks then reading about only mix networks may be enough.

However if you want to design real world mix network systems then understanding the mathematical limitations of the packet switching networking design space is extremely important! You must read about the early Internet design mistakes to understand what not to do in your mix network designs. In your mix network designs you must take care to avoid such fatal conditions such as Congestion Collapse.

Have questions? Sit on them for a week and voraciously read papers. If you still have questions then do feel free to ask me. We have a mailing list and IRC channel for such things:

Mix Network Fundamentals

Mix Strategies

Mix Network Topology

Compulsion Attacks And Packet Format

Note that Jeff Burdges has designed but not completely specified a new forward secure mix design that uses Post Quantum cryptographic ratchets. You can learn more about this here:

Statistical Disclosure Attacks and Decoy Traffic

Epistemic Attacks

Modern Mix Network Designs

Classical Packet Switching Network Literature

Congestion Control

Automatic Repeat Request Protocol Considerations

NOTE: many more papers by Milica Stojanovic about underwater acoustic network protocols can be found here:

Router Scheduling (for general purpose computers)

Active Queue Management

Attacks on Congestion Control

Congestion Control with Explicit Signaling

NOTE: for more reading on this subject refer to Dr. Sally Floyd’s ECN reading list