Decentralized and Stateful Serverless Computing on the Internet Computer Blockchain


Maksym Arutyunyan, Andriy Berestovskyy, Adam Bratschi-Kaye, Ulan Degenbaev, Manu Drijvers, Islam El-Ashi, Stefan Kaestle, Roman Kashitsyn, Maciej Kot, Yvonne-Anne Pignolet, Rostislav Rumenov, Dimitris Sarlis, Alin Sinpalean, Alexandru Uta, Bogdan Warinschi, and Alexandra Zapuc, DFINITY, Zurich


The Internet Computer (IC) is a fast and efficient decentralized blockchain-based platform for the execution of general-purpose applications in the form of smart contracts. In other words, the IC service is the antithesis of current serverless computing. Instead of ephemeral, stateless functions operated by a single entity, the IC offers decentralized stateful serverless computation over untrusted, independent datacenters. Developers deploy stateful canisters that serve calls either to end-users or other canisters. The IC programming model is similar to serverless clouds, with applications written in modern languages such as Rust or Python, yet simpler: state is maintained automatically, without developer intervention.

In this paper, we identify and address significant systems challenges to enable efficient decentralized stateful serverless computation: scalability, stateful execution through orthogonal persistence, and deterministic scheduling. We describe the design of the IC and characterize its operational data gathered over the past 1.5 years, and its performance.

USENIX ATC '23 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

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This content is available to:

@inproceedings {288743,
author = {Maksym Arutyunyan and Andriy Berestovskyy and Adam Bratschi-Kaye and Ulan Degenbaev and Manu Drijvers and Islam El-Ashi and Stefan Kaestle and Roman Kashitsyn and Maciej Kot and Yvonne-Anne Pignolet and Rostislav Rumenov and Dimitris Sarlis and Alin Sinpalean and Alexandru Uta and Bogdan Warinschi and Alexandra Zapuc},
title = {Decentralized and Stateful Serverless Computing on the Internet Computer Blockchain},
booktitle = {2023 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-35-9},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {329--343},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul

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