The Falcon Project came out of the research team at Cornell University, and part of the Initiative on Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts.
At a time when everyone thought that the only way to speed up block propagation was either through block compression (a la BIP-152, x-thin blocks, etc) or by pre-positioning blocks (a la weak blocks), the Falcon Network showed how the block dissemination task overall can be drastically improved by modifying the network layer.
Whereas all previous approaches were based on a costly "store-and-forward" technique, Falcon uses "cut-through" routing. This technique can achieves latencies for worldwide dissemination of a full block that is less than a second. This is because a node does not wait for a block to be received in full to start transmitting it. When it receives the last packet of a block, all previous packets are already distributed across the globe.
Soumya Basu is a Ph.D. student at Cornell University.
Ittay Eyal is an Associate Director at IC3, a post-doc at Cornell University, and is slated to be an assistant professor of computer science at The Technion in 2017.
Emin Gün Sirer is a co-Director at IC3 and an associate professor at Cornell University. His research focuses on self-organizing systems, blockchains, and fintech.