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NUS Computing forms blockchain think tank CRYSTAL

The National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing has announced the creation of the CRYSTAL (Cryptocurrency Strategy, Techniques, and Algorithms) Centre, an academic research laboratory and think tank on blockchains. 

Founded by NUS Computing faculty members, the CRYSTAL Centre aims to provide scientific clarity in shaping technical ideas in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. 

The team of experts has been responsible for several academically grounded spin-offs over the last two years in the blockchain ecosystem, NUS said in a press release on Sept 21, 2018. 

Assistant Professor Prateek Saxena and Associate Professor Keith Carter, who are from the Department of Computer Science and Department of Information Systems and Analytics at NUS Computing respectively, will co-direct the Centre.

Photo courtesy: NUS
Photo courtesy: NUS

The CRYSTAL Centre will be located at NUS Computing. It will initially comprise between 5 and 10 faculty members, as well as several scholars working in different research sub-areas. The Centre will conduct research on topics that touch on many challenges that the blockchain and cryptocurrency space currently faces.

These include scalable consensus protocols, verification and testing techniques, privacy-preserving computation, safe programming language design, blockchain applications, fundamentals of trading cryptocurrency, analysis of cryptocurrency economics, and highly available peer-to-peer (P2P) network designs. 

“We hope to make debates in the community more scientifically-grounded. The goal is improve interaction between those armed with intuition and those with scientific rigour. We also hope to draw attention to unforeseen scientific challenges, both near-term and long-term,” said Asst Prof Saxena.

Prof. Prateek Saxena, an assistant professor in the computer science department of NUS, who will be co-directing the CRYSTAL centre. Photo courtesy: NUS
Prof. Prateek Saxena, an assistant professor in the computer science department of NUS, who will be co-directing the CRYSTAL centre. Photo courtesy: NUS

The CRYSTAL Centre will also engage the industry to draw up new research problems and propose solutions to them. The research centre plans to host a series of structured events to facilitate interaction with the wider community. An annual workshop with three tracks – including technical research, business and entrepreneurship – is under works.

In all, the Centre hopes to foster an open/public technical community of thought leaders and experts in the blockchain space.

In April 2018, the team created the Blockchain Technical Reading Group in Singapore as the first step towards bringing attention to important technical topics. One take away from the reading group was that there is a gap in the understanding of security underpinning current blockchain designs. The CRYSTAL Centre will work to close this gap through collaborative research.

CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

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