In cryptographic literature, the word "byzantine" is used to describe participants in some sort of protocol who have malicious intentions. Ideally, a distributed protocol, e.g. for authenticitation should provide scurity even when some of the participants are actively trying to sabotage the protocol.

The expression was coined by Leslie Lamport in an article in the ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems, titled "The Byzantine Generals Problem." In it, he described a situation of Byzantine troops laying siege on a city. They want to decide when to attack, but they know that there are traitors among them. A traitor could create fake messages to try and make different parts of the army attack at different times, which would put them at a great disadvantage.

Lamport proved that it's impossible to prevent the sabotage if more than 1/3 of the generals are traitors.

Byz"ant (?), Byz"an*tine (?) n.[OE. besant, besaunt, F. besant, fr. LL. Byzantius, Byzantinus, fr. Byzantium.] Numis.

A gold coin, so called from being coined at Byzantium. See Bezant.

© Webster 1913.

By*zan"tine (?), a.

Of or pertaining to Byzantium.



A native or inhabitant of Byzantium, now Constantinople; sometimes, applied to an inhabitant of the modern city of Constantinople.

[ Written also Bizantine.]

Byzantine church, the Eastern or Greek church, as distinguished from the Western or Roman or Latin church.See under Greek. -- Byzantine empire, the Eastern Roman or Greek empire from A.D. 364 or A.D. 395 to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, A.D. 1453. -- Byzantine historians, historians and writers (Zonaras, Procopius, etc.) who lived in the Byzantine empire. P. Cyc.

Byzantine style (Arch.), a style of architecture developed in the Byzantine empire. Its leading forms are the round arch, the dome, the pillar, the circle, and the cross. The capitals of the pillars are the endless variety, and full of invention. The mosque of St. Sophia, Constantinople, and the church of St. Mark, Venice, are prominent examples of Byzantine architecture.



© Webster 1913.

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