2019 VeChain Winners

About VeChain

Through the generosity of the company VeChain, the Neukom Institute for Computational Science has available $40,000 to support research across the campus and professional schools related to blockchain technology and its applications.

Mathematics

Bjoern Muetzel, Mitsuo Kobayashi, & Martin Tassy

Security of Verifiable Delay Functions

Generating true randomness is a required component for numerous blockchain applications. A very promising approach to solve the problem was recently introduced: verifiable delay functions (VDF). The idea behind VDF is to use a function that generates pseudorandom outputs which are easy to verify but extremely hard to compute. Despite its novelty, this design has already received significant traction in the world of public blockchains. This is the context in which this research proposal takes places. Considering that VDFs are so new, their security parameters are still mostly unknown. Our goal is to start producing quantitative measures of those parameters

Mathematics

Feng Fu & Martin Tassy

Mathematical modeling of blockchain payment channels 

One of the major challenges that public blockchains such as Bitcoin or Vechain are currently facing is finding how to become scalable on a global level. Whether the set of transaction validators is permitted or not, it is impossible with the current state of the technology to deal efficiently with the throughput associated to the number of transactions which would occur in the case of global worldwide mass adoption. Amongst the different solutions proposed to solve this problem Payment Channels such as the Bitcoin lightning network and the Ethereum raiden network have been advertised as one of the most promising alternatives. The underlying idea behind those networks is to establish bidirectional asset transfer channels between participants which would harvest their security from the main chain. The purpose of the proposed research is two-fold: First, collect and use the empirical data available on real life payment channels in order to build an accurate mathematical modeling of those networks. Secondly, the team seeks to quantify the robustness and the decentralization of those networks under the proposed modeling.


 

Geisel School of Medicine

Paul Thompson

National Labor Database

Although blockchain technology was originally developed in the context of crypto currency, there are many more general applications of blockchain in cyber security, including secure database transactions.  With this project we propose to explore one of these applications:  a secure national labor database for a country where large multi-national corporations employ large, local, inter-generational labor forces over decades.  The goal of this research is to develop a proof of concept prototype of a blockchain solution using VeChain.  For this project, an architecture based on VeChain and existing organizational expert finding software will be developed.  Ideally, such a blockchain enabled national labor database would be a national resource, rather than belonging to the multi-national corporation whose employee information is entered into the database, because after some years the multi-national corporation might leave and be replaced at the worksite by a different multi-national corporation.  Maintaining the security and privacy of this national labor database is essential.