Research

Foundations

  • The RCanopus consensus protocol supports Byzantine Fault Tolerance and high transaction rates (our target is 1 million transactions per second) with sub-second latency in a globally-distributed permissioned setting. We envision the protocol as being used as a part of a permissioned blockchain, such as Hyperledger Fabric or Parity Substrate.

  • The high-throughput Hyperledger Fabric project is focusing on a detailed performance characterization of Fabric to determine its performance bottlenecks. We are using this to eliminate the principal bottlenecks through re-architecture and re-implementation of key components, while preserving existing semantics. Our goal is a ten-fold speedup of Fabric compared to the current (v1.2) implementation.

  • High-velocity transaction storage.A high-throughput blockchain needs to permanently store a stream of validated transactions to stable storage, while simultaneously being able to query this store to prevent double-spending. This requires low-latency query processing with high-throughput ingestion, and cannot be supported with existing database technologies. In this project, we are designing a high-velocity streaming transaction store for the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

  • Hardware-Accelerated Consensus. The high latency and low throughput of current consensus protocols hinders their adoption by many modern applications that require low latency and high throughput for committing new transactions and reading stored values. We are exploring techniques to accelerate consensus protocols through leveraging recent advances in networking technology, namely software defined networking. Our preliminary results show that co-designing network operations and consensus protocols can bring significant performance and efficiency gains.

  • The cost of privacy. Data on a blockchain is necessarily public, which is unsuitable for storing private meter data. In this project, we are exploring alternative approaches for storing metering data on a chain, and their resource cost.
 
 
 
 
 

Applications

  • Strain is a new auction protocol running on top of blockchains and guaranteeing bid confidentiality against fully-malicious parties. The goal is efficiency and low blockchain latency, we abstain from using traditional, highly interactive Multi-Party Computation (MPC) primitives such as secret shares. We focus on a slightly weaker adversary model than MPC which allows Strain to achieve constant latency. Strain’s latency is not only asymptotically optimal, but also efficient in practice, requiring a low, constant — in both the number of parties and the bid length — number of blocks of the underlying blockchain.
  •  The Strain2 project builds on Strain for maintaining confidentiality of on-chain data and transactions. The project uses applied cryptographic mechanisms to implement secure applications, such as auctions, on blockchains and private authentication for blockchains
  • Blockchain in Healthcare. The healthcare industry is ahead of other industries, including finance, in setting the pace for blockchain adoption. The nature of its challenges make it prime for disruption with blockchain, whether in creating standards for Electronic Medical Records, Claims Management, Clinical Trials Consent, Patient Data Sharing, among others. This project aims at exploring current and future applications of Blockchain in Healthcare.
  • Blockchain for audits on EV charging: We are working with SWTCH Inc. to allow electric vehicle owners charge their EVs using Internet-controlled chargers located in condominium complexes in the Greater Toronto Area. Blockchains allow SWTCH, property owners, and EV owners to transact energy without mutual trust, providing a provably-correct audit trail. This work is sponsored by SWTCH under the OCE VIP 1 program.
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