CFAIL 2019

A Conference for Failed Approaches and Insightful Losses in cryptology

May 31-June 2

Columbia University, New York City

CFAIL has a new home on the web: Check us out there for newer and upcoming events!


Friday, May 31:

9 pm – midnight: Welcome event at Caveat, 21A Clinton Street (Lower East Side, Manhattan).

We’re opening the conference with a celebration of failure: join us for comedy, music, and to raise a glass to the universal hiccups, whoopsies, and oh noes that help drive the progress of cryptology! Also there’s an open bar. I probably should have led with that.

Saturday, June 1:

9:00 am – 9:45 am Breakfast and registration (CEPSR Hall, Room 750, Columbia University)

9:45 am – 10:00 am Opening Remarks


10:00 am – 11:00 am “On Proving Security against Differential Cryptanalysis” by Nicky Mouha


11:00 am – noon “How to not break SIDH” by Chloe Martindale and Lorenz Panny


Noon – 2:30 pm break for lunch (on your own)


2:30 pm – 3:30 pm “In pursuit of clarity in obfuscation” by Allison Bishop, Lucas Kowalczyk, Tal Malkin, Valerio Pastro, Mariana Raykova, and Kevin Shi


3:30 pm – 4:00 pm coffee break


4:00 pm – 5:00 pm “A multilevel and low-locality BGW MPC protocol” by Alexandra Berkoff, Benjamin Fuller, Sophia Yakoubov, and Arkady Yerukhimovich


6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Conference Dinner at Le Monde, 2885 Broadway

Sunday, June 2:

9:00 am – 9:30 am Breakfast (CEPSR Hall, Room 750, Columbia University)


9:30 am – 10:30 am “Homomorphism learning problems and its applications to public-key cryptography” by Luis Ruiz-Lopez and Christopher Leonardi


10:30 am – 11:30 am “Zero-Knowledge PCPS from Leakage-Resilient Circuits, Revisited” by Mor Weiss


11:30 am – noon Coffee break


Noon – 1:00 pm “Non-interactive key exchange in a generic multilinear group: An underwhelming lower bound” by Allison Bishop, Lucas Kowalczyk, and Valerio Pastro


1:00 pm – 1:15 pm Closing Remarks

Call for Papers

Dear Cryptologists,

Do you have insightful and exciting work sitting in a drawer somewhere because it never quite panned out? Are you willing to share your failed approaches so that others can learn from them without having to re-travel the same road? Are you tired of reading papers that pretend the incremental result they happened to achieve was well-motivated and was their goal all along?


We are! That’s why we are founding a new conference: a place for papers that describe instructive failures or not-yet-successes, as they may prefer to be called.


The first Conference for Failed Approaches and Insightful Losses (CFAIL) is seeking original papers in the field of cryptology that detail currently unsuccessful but insightful attempts to:


            Prove a conjecture,

            Disprove a conjecture,

            Design a cryptographic algorithm or reduction,

            Simplify a cryptographic algorithm or concept,

            Cryptanalyze a cryptosystem,

            Implement a cryptosystem,

            Formulate a new security definition,

            Systemize a collection of ad-hoc attacks,

            Or any other task that is part of the practice of theoretical or applied                        cryptology, broadly construed.


Papers that are accepted will be invited to give 1-hour talks at CFAIL 2019, which will take place May 31-June 2, 2019 at Columbia University in New York City. There will be no formal proceedings, but accepted papers will be available online before appearing at the conference. Talks will be recorded and also made available (subject to speaker permission).


There are no pesky page limits or formatting requirements. It is up to authors how they choose to engage the reviewing readers, who are not guaranteed to read or not read beyond any particular point. Clarity of exposition will be strongly taken into account. Submission files should not include author names, but it is understood that it may be necessary to reference attributed material elsewhere (e.g. in case of papers that describe a behind the scenes account of failures accompanying previously published successes). 

Submission deadline: 11:59 pm EST on April 7, 2019 (updated) 

Paper notification: April 26, 2019

Conference Dates: May 31-June 2, 2019

The Program Committee

Ghada Almashaqbeh, Columbia University

Allison Bishop, Proof Trading and Columbia University (co-chair)

Craig Gentry, IBM Research

Lucas Kowalczyk, IEX (co-chair)

Claudio Orlandi, Aarhus University

Tal Rabin, IBM Research

Mariana Raykova, Google

Kevin Shi, Columbia University (co-chair)

Nigel Smart, KU Leuven

Daniel Wichs, Northeastern University

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Contact Us

The submission link is:

For any questions, please contact the general chair, Allison Bishop, at