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WORKSHOP ON THEORY AND PRACTICE
OF BLOCKCHAINS 2019

From may 27 to May 29, 2019, Department of Computer Science at Aarhus University
invites you to a workshop on Theory and Practice of Blockchains 2019 (TPBC19)
bringing together researchers working on the theory and implementations of blockchains

 

MISSION STATEMENT

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Concordium Blockchain Research Centre Aarhus is a Research Center at Aarhus University.

The driving goal of the research center is to provide the basic research needed to build energy-efficient and scalable blockchain technology that is provably secure. Along the way, we expect a lot of discoveries in the blockchain space and related sciences that we cannot anticipate at the onset.

Researchers in the center will perform research in blockchain technology, foundational blockchain theory and cryptography. They will develop new protocols for efficient and secure consensus algorithms (such as proof-of-stake-based ones), sharding mechanisms, new cryptographic techniques supporting privacy-preserving identification, anonymous payments, better zero-knowledge techniques, and languages for smart contracts. Other research includes the formal verification of cryptographic protocols, foundational security models for the blockchain space, governance of blockchains and incentive design and analysis.

The center is funded by the Swiss non-profit Concordium Foundation, whose mission is to fund research in the blockchain space, and build a new foundational blockchain with focus on business and regulatory compliance. The center performs free, basic research in the theory and technology underlying blockchains. All research performed in the center is open source and patent free and will help build a solid foundation for the entire blockchain space.

THEORY AND PRACTICE OF BLOCKCHAINS 2019

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From May 27 to May 29, 2019, Department of Computer Science at Aarhus University invites you to a workshop on Theory and Practice of Blockchains 2019 (TPBC19) bringing together researchers working on the theory and implementation of blockchains.

Recent advances in blockchain technology have spurred academic research in many different related areas. The program will include recent research in the sub-themes of consensus protocols, zero-knowledge proofs, privacy and anonymity-preserving techniques, language design and semantics for smart contracts, formal verification of cryptographic protocols and implementations, among other relevant topics. The workshop aims to enable interdisciplinary research and foster collaboration among theoreticians and practitioners in blockchain protocols, distributed systems, and cryptography.

Confirmed speakers:

Andrew Miller, Apoorvaa Deshpande, Ariel Gabizon, Benedikt Bünz, Chaya Ganesh, Christian Badertscher, Christian Cachin, Esha Ghosh, Itay Tsabary, Ivan Damgård, Jan Camenisch, Jan Hofmann, Mahdi Zamani, Matteo Maffei, Muthuramakrishnan Venkitasubramaniam, Partisia, Pavel Hubáček, Russell O'Connor, Sarah Meiklejohn, Sebastian Faust, Simon Thompson, Stefan Dziembowski, Tal Moran, Thomas Kerber, Vassilis Zikas.

More information about the workshop can be found on the workshop website where you can also register. Find the website HERE!

BACKGROUND

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The current blockchain revolution kicked off with Bitcoin. Bitcoin was an important first step, showing that it was possible to establish a distributed autonomous currency. But Bitcoin had a lot of shortcomings, technically and legally, so we soon saw a new wave of cryptocurrencies.

The first wave of blockchains after Bitcoin all tried to solve important shortcomings and/or widen the scope of the blockchain applications. These blockchains were rather ad hoc in nature –– more focused on trying to engineer a running system than worrying about efficiency and security. This made sense during the early exploratory phase of the blockchain space, and helped us better understand the possibilities and challenges of the space.

However, practice has shown this ad hoc approach does not work well. Many early blockchains were very slow and/or not secure due to poor designs. Often, these problems were built into the fabric of the blockchains, and could not be fixed later.

Now, there is a new wave of blockchain projects with a strong academic participation. The goal is to synthesize the experiences of the early projects and build on decades-worth of research in cryptography, distributed system, programming languages, formal verification, microeconomics, and political science to build new foundational blockchains from scratch. To facilitate a much wider adoption of the technology than we see today, the focus is on energy efficiency, provable security, regulatory compliance, general applicability, flexibly, updatability, and equipping the smart contracts of the blockchains with modern programming languages and programming tools.

The center is funded by the Swiss non-profit Concordium Foundation, whose mission is to fund research in the blockchain space, and build a new foundational blockchain with focus on business and regulatory compliance.

Learn more about the CONCORDIUM foundation

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    WHAT IS A BLOCKCHAIN

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    A blockchain is a growing sequence of linked data-blocks. Think of it as a book, where one can add new pages of information at the end. Old pages cannot be removed.

    In a distributed blockchain, many parties store a copy of the blockchain. These parties can exchange information such as new data over a peer2peer network.

    The involved parties must ensure that they all store the same version of the blockchain, even if new data is added. To this end, the parties run a distributed consensus protocol. We can therefore talk about the blockchain, even though it is stored in a distributed manner.

    As said above, the blockchain can be used as a non-erasable data storage. In case of a cryptocurrency, this data could consist of transactions or account balances. Cryptocurrencies also allow to create and store smart contracts on the blockchain.

    A smart contract is essentially a program that precisely defines a contract, such as a weather insurance. The precise language of smart contracts allows that such contract can be evaluated automatically. As the smart contracts are stored on the blockchain, they are irreversible and self-enforcing.

    Using smart contracts, one can use a cryptocurrency for a wide array of applications, such as online shopping, auctions, keeping track of goods in logistics, and transparent elections.