Call for Failures!

*This is an old version. Please stay tuned for the Call for Failures for 2021! 

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 need a conference for papers that describe instructive failures or not-yet-successes, as they may prefer to be called.


The second Conference for Failed Approaches and Insightful Losses (CFAIL 2020) 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.


Authors of accepted papers will be given 45 minutes for a presentation (not including Q&A) at CFAIL 2020, which will take place on Saturday, August 15, 2020. CFAIL 2020 will be held as an affiliated workshop of Crypto 2020. 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). CFAIL 2020 will be held as a virtual conference - more details on the precise format of that will be coming soon. 


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 page:

​Submission deadline: 11:59 pm EDT on May 17, 2020 

Paper notification: July 1, 2020

Conference Date: Saturday, August 15, 2020


Please contact the general chair at with any inquiries. 


The CFAIL 2020 Program Committee


Ghada Almashaqbeh, NuCypher

Diego Aranha, Aarhus University

Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Teserakt

Shivam Bhasin, NTU

Begül Bilgin, Rambus

Allison Bishop, Proof Trading (general chair)

Chitchanok Chuengsatiansup, University of Adelaide

Orr Dunkelman, University of Haifa

Virginie Lallemand, CNRS

Chloe Martindale, University of Bristol

Nicky Mouha, NIST (program chair)

Fabrice Mouhartem, IIT Madras

Håvard Raddum, Simula UiB

Angela Robinson, NIST

Mike Rosulek, Oregon State University

Aishwarya Thiruvengadam, TU Darmstadt

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