Lead Maintainer, Maintainers, and Libra Improvement Proposal (LIP) announced

May 8, 2020
Libra Association

The Libra Association’s* Technical Steering Committee (TSC) — consisting of representatives from five Members: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Novi**, Mercy Corps and Union Square Ventures — is pleased to announce the election of an interim Lead Maintainer and the selection of four Maintainers, all of whom will play a crucial role in the technical governance of the open-source Libra project. With these roles now filled, the TSC is also launching the Libra Improvement Proposal (LIP) program.

The election of Maintainers, the launch of the LIP program, and an associated call for contributors reinforce the Libra Association’s commitment to transparency in the Libra project’s governance. Public involvement of the open-source community provides support the Libra payment system can benefit from.

Libra Improvement Proposal (LIP) program is launched and live

The Libra project reached a new milestone with the launch of the Libra Improvement Proposal (LIP) program.

What is a LIP program proposal?

LIPs offer the Libra developer community a way to participate in advancing the features and functioning of the Libra payment system, either by proposing a change or engaging in discussion about a proposal. Proposals can address the core Libra Blockchain protocol, the Move development platform, smart contracts and systems for smart-contract verification, operating standards, APIs, and off-chain mechanisms. You can find a complete description of the LIP program here. LIPs themselves are hosted in a dedicated repository: dip.diem.com

Who governs the LIP program?

The LIP program operates under the governance of the Libra Association, with final authority for technical decisions made by the TSC. The Lead Maintainer has oversight over day-to-day operations of the LIP program and appoints individual Maintainers to manage proposals. Additionally, LIP matters are routinely discussed by the Lead Maintainer with the TSC.

How can I get involved?

Soon after a Libra full-spec is posted to wp.diem.com as the root standard LIP, any change that could be considered major or a breaking change — one that affects a public API, protocol, virtual machine (VM), underlying code execution, or standard — should be addressed with a LIP. However, not every contribution to the Libra payment system needs to be a LIP. A performance improvement, typo fix, or the addition of technical documentation are examples of changes that would not require a LIP.

The Libra Association TSC has put out a call for contributors to participate in non-breaking contributions that enhance, fix, or improve existing functionality. These technical improvements should be handled with a pull request. Lighter-weight issues, such as small bugs, common implementation topics, and minor feature enhancements, should be brought forward as GitHub issues.

The Libra project offers organizations and individual coders alike a unique opportunity. By becoming a contributor, you can be a part of building a global payment system that empowers billions of people. What’s more, you can take part in novel and exciting technology development and become a more visible member of the Libra developer community. Get started by checking out the Contribution Guide and the Coding Guidelines on the Libra docs site.

Interim Lead Maintainer and Maintainers announced

The TSC has appointed Dahlia Malkhi, a renowned researcher and author focusing on the reliability and security of distributed systems, as the interim Lead Maintainer. She will be in the role on an interim basis, while the TSC evaluates potential candidates from the Libra development community to fill the role permanently. Dahlia will be supported by four project Maintainers: Sam Blackshear, Move and Move VM; Avery Ching, Consensus and Networking; Kevin Hurley, Client Service, Mempool, and Node Synchronization; and David Wolinsky, Trusted computing base (TCB), Configuration, and Crypto. In addition, the TSC is looking to appoint other domain experts from Member organizations to act as Maintainers. Brief bios of each Maintainer are at the end of this blog post.

Furthermore, the Libra Association’s TSC is excited to welcome Noah Jessop as TSC, Technical Program Manager. In this role, Noah will shepherd the technical roadmap and its governance.

Meet the Maintainers

Dahlia Malkhi ‒ Interim Lead Maintainer
An applied and foundational researcher in distributed systems technology, author, and international speaker, Dahlia is the research lead at Novi and co-inventor of HotStuff, on which the Libra Blockchain core (LibraBFT) is based. She previously has been a co-founder and technical lead of VMware blockchain; co-inventor of Flexible Paxos, the technology behind Log Device; and creator and technical lead of CorfuDB, a database-less database driving VMware’s NSX-T distributed control plane. She is a former associate professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she holds a Ph.D. in computer science.

Sam Blackshear ‒ Move and MoveVM
Sam Blackshear, co-creator of Move, is a research scientist who is working on the Move standard library and virtual machine at Novi. He previously worked on the Infer static analyzer and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Avery Ching ‒ Consensus and Networking
Avery Ching is a co-creator of the LibraBFT consensus protocol that ensures safety and liveness in the Libra Blockchain and currently leads the consensus, networking, and performance efforts in Libra. Previously, he has been the technical lead of across multiple “big compute” teams at Facebook, including Spark, graph processing, Hive/Hadoop, and batch scheduling; and is a co-creator of Apache Giraph. He has a Ph.D. in high-performance computing from Northwestern University.

Kevin Hurley ‒ Admission Control and Mempool
Kevin Hurley is the Novi technical lead across several core Libra areas such as client service, mempool, off-chain APIs, and node synchronization elements of Libra Core. Previously, he has been the technical lead for and software architect of Facebook Payments. Kevin has a Bsc from Bradley University in electrical engineering.

David Wolinsky ‒ TCB, Configuration, Crypto
David is co-creator of the security architecture that ensures safety in the Libra Blockchain and currently leads the security-infrastructure effort and co-leads networking efforts. He has a Ph.D. in building reliable, decentralized peer-to-peer networks from the University of Florida and more recently led a DARPA-funded project on provable, scalable anonymous communication at Yale.

Questions or comments?

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*On December 1, 2020, the Libra Association was renamed to Diem Association.
**Novi was first announced as Calibra in 2019.