ConsensusDay 22: call for contributions
After a wildly successful 2021 edition, ConsensusDay is back for 2022! The goal remains the same: to provide a forum for the discussion of early-stage but high-impact research with scientific interest and real-world applications and to build a community around it.
The first graduating class of ConsensusLab projects
When ConsensusLab launched last year, we published a roadmap covering our first 18 months. We are still working towards that same roadmap, with minor adjustments over time to accommodate the changing landscape and externalities.
Matteo Campanelli joins CryptoNetLab as a Research Scientist
CryptoNetLab is pleased to welcome Matteo Campanelli to the team as a research scientist.
Matteo previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Aarhus University (with Claudio Orlandi) and at the IMDEA Software Institute (with Dario Fiore).
New research opportunities from CryptoEconLab
The hard-thinking research scientists of the CryptoEconLab have developed a set of research questions that are particularly appropriate for scoped independent work. These questions can be used to design an MSc thesis or PhD industry-experience project for students in computer science, statistics, complexity science, economics, or related areas, or as the basis for independent research.
Funding the Commons
The Network Goods team at Protocol Labs recently held the second in a continuing series of events bringing together researchers and thought leaders to discuss novel experiments and future directions for funding our collective commons.
Working in public @ ConsensusLab
Do you ever wonder what ConsensusLab is up to? If so, you’re in for a treat!
Ever since our launch in July ‘21, we’ve been sharing our work with the broader community – one of our very first initiatives was organising ConsensusDays.
Dario Catalano to advise CryptoNetLab
CryptoNetLab is excited to announce that Dario Catalano will be supporting the team as a research advisor.
Dario is a professor at University of Catania, where he investigates questions related to reducing the gap between theory and practice in cryptography, with a particular focus on developing advanced yet efficient encryption mechanisms and designing secure distributed digital signature schemes.
Meet Alex Terrazas, CryptoEconLab TPM
We are excited to announce that Alex Terrazas will be guiding and supporting CryptoEconLab as a Technical Program Manager.
We asked Alex about his journey to Protocol Labs, the CryptoEconLab projects he will be working on, and his thoughts about future technological developments:
Scaling blockchains with hierarchical consensus
Scaling blockchains is not an easy task. Less so if one is looking to accommodate not only crypto-native use cases but also Web 2.0-like applications handling significant volumes of data at high throughput (of the kind that you would host with your preferred cloud provider).
Liz Bryson joins PL Research
We are excited to welcome Liz Bryson as a Research Administrator at Protocol Labs.
We asked Liz about what brought her to Protocol Labs, the projects she’ll be working on, and her thoughts on future technological developments:
Tom Mellan joins CryptoEconLab as a Research Scientist
CryptoEconLab is pleased to welcome Tom Mellan to the team as a research scientist.
Tom has spent the last two years modeling infectious diseases at Imperial College London. The backbone of this research centered on the messy intersection of science, maths and policy; asking simple questions like: what’s happened and why?
Changing the Internet
How do you design a general-purpose global communication network? That is the question facing researchers and inventors hoping to create a new internet.
Sílvia Bessa joins PL Research
We are excited to welcome Sílvia Bessa to the Protocol Labs Research team. We asked Sílvia about her journey to Protocol Labs, the projects she will be working on, and her thoughts about future technological developments:
Open problems in incentive research
CryptoEconLab is the PL hub for research in cryptoeconomics, an emerging interdisciplinary field investigating the dynamics of economic coordination games in cryptographically-secured peer-to-peer networks. CryptoEconLab stands at the intersection of computer science, network science, statistics, economics, psychology, decision neuroscience, and system engineering, and the problems it explores have strong resonances with the field of complex systems theory.
Axel Cortés Cubero joins CryptoEconLab
We are excited to announce that Axel Cortés Cubero has joined CryptoEconLab, where he will explore the dynamics of cryptoeconomic networks as a research scientist.
We asked Axel about his journey to Protocol Labs, the CryptoEconLab projects he will be working on, and his thoughts about future technological developments:
Decentralized internet, networks, protocols, and systems (DINPS) workshop at IEEE ICDCS 2022: call for contributions
Call for Papers Announcement: Workshop on Decentralized Internet, Networks, Protocols, and Systems Website: https://research.protocol.ai/sites/dinps/ Submission Deadline: 5 March 2022 In June 2021, we ran a workshop on “Decentralizing the Internet with IPFS and Filecoin” (DI2F) alongside IFIP Networking 2021 to establish a forum for academics, researchers and developers to share their expertise and latest findings on decentralized storage, IPFS, libp2p, and Filecoin.
Introducing Patrick Woodhead, Retrieval Markets TPM
We are pleased to introduce Patrick Woodhead, the Technical Program Manager for the Retrieval Markets initiative. Research into data retrieval systems will be critical to the development of a CDN for Web3, and Patrick is helping to guide these efforts at Protocol Labs.
Protocol Labs research funding recipients 2021, part 2
Last week we introduced you to the researchers pursuing key problems in cryptography via RFP-009, RFP-010, and a Nucleation Grant. Now we are excited to share the recipients of research awards intended to fund proposals from PhD candidates, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty through our open grant offerings.
Protocol Labs research funding recipients 2021, part 1
This has been a prodigious year for generating new funded collaborations between Protocol Labs Research and top academic researchers around the world! We have given out a whopping eighteen awards since August (with others pending).
A visualization tool for the IPFS DHT
At the Mobile Multimedia Lab of the Athens University of Economics and Business, we have been working on optimisations for the InterPlanetary File System distributed hash table (IPFS DHT) and, in particular, on Multi-Level DHT support.
Increasing software update security through PGP-compatible threshold signatures
Increasing software update security through PGP-compatible threshold signatures Whether we are aware of them or not, software updates and the systems that support them permeate the current software landscape. Given their pervasiveness, it should come as a surprise that software created to manage such updates, broadly referred to as package managers, still pose security concerns.
ConsensusDays 21 recap and recordings
It was a calm day in early August when we launched a call for contributions for ConsensusDay 21, the launch event for our ConsensusLab. Originally intended to be an intimate, one-day virtual workshop aiming to foster discussion of consensus research and bootstrap a collaboration network, it soon became clear that it was growing beyond our wildest expectations – and certainly beyond what we had planned and were prepared to accommodate.
A retrospective on the ARPM program
Now that summer has turned to fall, we’d like to share some of the things we’ve learned and accomplished during this past summer with our Associate Research Program managers (ARPMs): Dwarkesh, Max, and Sam.
Announcing the ConsensusDays 21 program
After a two-week review marathon, we’re happy to announce the exciting program for ConsensusDays 21. The workshop will take place 6-7 October (next week!) in the 14:00-20:00 UTC period.
We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of talk proposals, and many decisions ended up coming down to program limitations and session planning rather than quality alone.
PL Research at MetaScience2021
Protocol Labs Research is excited to announce that we will be participating in the MetaScience 2021 conference: a global virtual conference spanning two weekends, 16-18 September and 23-25 September, to connect the study of science across disciplines, methodologies, and regions.
ConsensusDay becomes ConsensusDays 21
We would like to thank all authors for the overwhelming response to the call for contributions. We are delighted by the quality and number of submissions received, which already required us to expand our review team.
A rebuttal to the Metaverse as a dystopia
A group of researchers here at PL recently indulged a tirade of mine about the notion that a metaverse is not something that we should want. It seemed worth the time to improve and condense the logic I presented there.
Introducing the microblog format
The PL Research blog is home to news about our software releases and conference presentations, deep dives into our techniques and tech stack, design reports, and updates about our new research initiatives.
ConsensusDay 21: call for contributions
It was only last week that we announced the launch of ConsensusLab, a new Protocol Labs research group focused on scalable consensus for decentralised systems. Looking to drive more focused research into the topic, we are now inviting you to participate in our first public event, ConsensusDay 21.
ConsensusLab: supercharging our consensus research
We are excited to announce the launch of ConsensusLab, a new research group focused on scalable consensus for decentralised systems and a part of Protocol Labs Research.
Consensus — loosely defined as global agreement on the state of a decentralised network across its mutually untrusting participants — has been known to be at the heart of decentralised systems ever since the inception of Nakamoto’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus.
zk-SNARKs for the world!
Did you know Filecoin is the largest zk-SNARK network deployed to date?
For the past two years we have been working on bringing zk-SNARKs to the world and to the Filecoin Network.
Marko Vukolić joins PL Research as ConsensusLab Lead
Protocol Labs Research is excited to announce that Marko Vukolić is joining us to establish and lead the ConsensusLab, which will explore and develop methods of coordinating distributed systems.
We asked Marko why he decided to join PL Research, what he will be working on, and to share his thoughts about future technological developments:
PL Research welcomes its first cohort of summer research associates
Protocol Labs Research is delighted to welcome our inaugural cohort of Associate Research Program Managers (ARPMs): Max Krieger, Dwarkesh Patel, and Samuel Tang are joining us for a 10-week summer research experience focused on metaresearch and research program management.
Designing a dataflow editor with TypeScript and React
This is a design report – a story about the tradeoffs and challenges that we encountered while building a medium-complexity React component in TypeScript. These include
state modeling (“making illegal states unrepresentable”) basic type-level programming in TypeScript DX patterns for generically typed React components DX patterns for reusable controlled components using a Redux-like action/dispatch state paradigm These topics all deal with the external interface and TypeScript typings; lower-level implementation challenges (like optimizing drag interactions and sharing state between React and D3) have been left to a future post.
ResNetLab on Tour in Australia
On May 5th, ResNetLab participated in a flagship event involving four major Australian universities — Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), University of New South Wales, Australian National University and Macquarie University — and lots of Web 3.
ResNetLab presents Beyond Bitswap at Codemotion '21
ResNetLab was delighted to accept an invitation to talk about Bitswap and the outcomes of our Beyond Bitswap project at the Spanish Edition of the Codemotion conference. The invitation was then extended to the English edition of the conference, which took place at the end of May.
ResNetLab presentations at Devfolio's ETH India 2021 Fellowship
Hot off the heels of ETHDenver, the largest Ethereum community event in North America, the Devfolio team who ran the hackathon platform for the event asked if we’d be interested in doing an IPFS training for another of their programs: the Devfolio Ethereum India Fellowship.
Introducing our new grant spectrum
Protocol Labs Research is committed to supporting the innovation needed to build our decentralized future.
Today we are pleased to announce the expansion of the PL Research Grant Program to include a variety of new funding opportunities designed to support collaborative work on problems defined by the broader research community and critical to our work at Protocol Labs.
COVID-19 Open Innovation Grant update
In the spring of 2020, as a rapid response to the COVID crisis, Protocol Labs launched an accelerated grants program to support open-source projects building tools to confront present and future pandemics.
Adam Marblestone joins PL Research as an Advisor
We are delighted to announce that Adam Marblestone will be joining PL Research as an advisor. Adam is a neuroscientist and technologist who has conducted research in brain circuit mapping and quantum information theory.
ResNetLab on Tour: Blockchain@Berkeley
We were delighted to present our brand new ResNetLab on Tour programme to the vibrant community of the Berkeley’s Blockchain Innovation Hub on April 28th and 29th!
The ResNetLab on Tour programme is a one-stop-shop for all things IPFS and Web 3.
Protocol Labs Research has been growing rapidly, with the launch of CryptoComputeLab, CryptoEconLab, and CryptoNetLab, a number of new projects, and new researchers, advisors, and support staff joining the team.
SnarkPack: How to aggregate SNARKs efficiently
A guided dive into the cryptographic techniques of SnarkPack
This post exposes the inner workings of SnarkPack, a practical scheme to aggregate Groth16 proofs, a derivation of the Inner Pairing Product work of Bünz et al.
Trent Davis joins Protocol Labs Research
Trent Davis is joining the PL Research team as a Research Administrator. Trent received degrees in business and economics at Washington State University and Cornell University, did research at Cornell, and helped develop the Cornell Blockchain club and the Smart Contract Research Forum.
Decentralized Energy Project recap
Three years ago, we set out to apply the decentralization ethos to the power grid — a complex, sprawling network with some parts dating back over a century. That was the beginning of the Decentralized Energy Project, an effort within AbstractionLab.
ResNetLab on Tour tutorials go on-demand
We started the ResNetLab on Tour programme in late 2019 with the goal of onboarding the research and academic community to the IPFS architecture and the interesting open problems and research directions associated with the decentralisation of internet services.
CryptoComputeLab announces proofs release 6.1.0
Today we’re proud to announce the recent release of rust-fil-proofs v6.1.0. This release contains a number of significant re-factors and performance optimizations, but we’d like to dig deeper into a couple of them to show some of the real-world impacts.
Protocol Labs at FOSDEM 2021
FOSDEM is one of the biggest events for software developers building open-source software. Founded in 2000, the conference takes place once a year in Brussels, gathering over 8000 developers, hackers, and engineers from across the spectrum of software development.
ResNetLab welcomes Barath Raghavan as a research advisor
We are pleased to announce that Barath Raghavan will be working with ResNetLab as an advisor. Barath is a professor of computer science at USC, where he co-leads the networked systems lab and conducts research across the fields of core networked systems, computing for social good and sustainability, and security.
AbstractionLab Update: notes from the frontier
The independent researchers of the AbstractionLab tackle ambitious projects with huge potential to drive breakthroughs in computing, communication, and decentralization. They are the scout ship pilots exploring the farthest reaches of the adjacent possible.
ResNetLab 2020 in review: we love it when a plan comes together
We hope you spent some fantastic time with your loved ones during the holiday season. With the time to pause, rest, and reflect – and with the goal of kicking off 2021 in the best way possible – we decided to capture ResNetLab’s 2020 highlights, share what we’ve learned, and describe what we will be focusing on in 2021.
Beyond Swapping Bits: project review (and preview!)
If you have been following along for the past three months (1, 2, 3, 4), you know that we in ResNetLab started the Beyond Bitswap project with one goal in mind: to drive speed-ups for file-sharing in IPFS.
Announcing the Protocol Labs Associate Research Program Manager (ARPM) summer program
Protocol Labs is currently accepting applications for its Associate Research Program Manager (ARPM) ten-week summer program (2021). The ARPM experience is an opportunity for undergraduate students to learn to support and grow research programs; drive research initiatives; and engage in meta-research analyses, exploring high-level ways to improve the efficacy and impact of scientific research.
Teaching Bitswap nodes to jump
By now you may have heard about ResNetLab’s research endeavour to drive speed-ups on file transfers: Beyond Swapping Bits. Our recent blog post, “Honey, I shrunk our libp2p streams”, considers how adding compression to libp2p could lead to significant bandwidth savings.
Anca Nitulescu joins Protocol Labs Research
Anca Nitulescu is joining CryptoLab (Update: now CryptoNetLab) as a Research Scientist. After obtaining their PhD in cryptography at ENS Paris, they worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Aarhus University and as Chief Cryptographer at Cosmian before coming to Protocol Labs.
A research perspective on Filecoin, part two
In Part One, we traced the intellectual and technological history of modern implementations of distributed ledger technology. Now let’s take a stroll through the technological landscape around the time of Filecoin’s release:
A research perspective on Filecoin
The Filecoin network is launching in the middle of a revolution in internet architecture, where vulnerable centralized services dependent on trusted parties are being replaced with resilient decentralized solutions based on verifiable computation, and internet services are being relocated from inefficient central monoliths to the far reaches of the network by peer-to-peer markets.
"Two ears, one mouth": how to leverage bitswap chatter for faster transfers
As part of ResNetLab’s research endeavour to drive speed-ups on file transfers, Beyond Swapping Bits, we present a new contribution to IPFS Bitswap protocol. We argue that Bitswap is currently discarding a wealth of information that could be used to its benefit, improving retrieval success and minimizing the latency to retrieve content.
Honey, I shrunk our libp2p streams
Today we’re excited to share the story of how we decided to explore compression for libp2p streams and ended up achieving up to a 75% decrease in bandwidth use when performing an IPFS file exchange.
COVID-19 Open Innovation Grant update
In the spring, as COVID-19 swept the globe, Protocol Labs quickly retooled its grant program and launched an accelerated grants program to support open-source projects building tools to confront present and future pandemics.
A brief history of (re)building the Internet
The Internet began life as a military network engineered for resilience in the face of a nuclear attack. That’s right—the same network you use to check on your friends and share cat photos has at its core a structural pattern intended to survive a nuclear exchange long enough to mutually assure destruction with the USSR.
Introducing the Filecoin Economy
Filecoin provides a blockchain-based marketplace that promises to revolutionize the global storage economy. The Filecoin marketplace delivers a totally new and secure way for anyone in the world to buy and sell storage. We’re excited to share an overview of how the storage economy works on the Filecoin Network.
Vasilis Giotsas joins Protocol Labs Research
Vasileios (Vasilis) Giotsas is joining the Resilient Networks Lab (ResNetLab) as a Research Engineer. He comes to PL from Lancaster University, where he was an Assistant Professor, after stints at Technischen Universität Berlin and the University of California San Diego.
Alfonso de la Rocha joins Protocol Labs Research
Alfonso is joining the Resilient Networks Lab (ResNetLab) as a Research Engineer. He comes to PL from Telefónica R&D, where he worked on blockchain-based technologies such as TrustOS.
We asked Alfonso about his journey to PL, the projects he will be working on in the ResNetLab, and his thoughts about future technological developments:
IEEE/IFIP DSN 2020 - The InterPlanetary File System and the Filecoin Network
ResNetLab was invited to present “The InterPlanetary File System and the Filecoin Network” in a 3-hour tutorial at the IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks! The conference, now in its 50th edition, has an established track record of top-quality research contributions, and is one of the oldest conferences in its subject area.
Rosario Gennaro named 2020 IACR Fellow
In May, Rosario Gennaro was named a 2020 Fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR). IACR established its Fellows Program in 2002 to recognize oustanding members for significant technical and professional contributions to cryptology and related fields.
Hello from the Decentralized Energy Project!
We’re two materials scientists here at Protocol Labs, and we’re working to improve the electricity grid.
Why, you may be thinking, does a distributed file storage company have a project related to the energy grid?
IEEE ICBC 2020: The InterPlanetary File System and the Filecoin Network
ResNetLab presented at one of the most prominent conferences in the area of Distributed Ledger Technologies: the IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies! IEEE ICBC 2020 took place remotely, was well-attended, and had an exciting programme both in terms of tutorials during the first day and invited talks during the main conference, where Vitalik Buterin delivered the keynote speech.
Announcing our COVID-19 Open Innovation Grant awardees
After a marathon review, followed by necessary legal and financial procedures, we are happy to announce the projects we are supporting with Protocol Labs' COVID-19 Open Innovation Grant program.
This program was created to surface and support open-source projects working on tools to help humanity through present and future pandemics.
Karola Kirsanow joins Protocol Labs Research
Karola is an experienced paleogeneticist, having studied and done research at Cornell, Oxford, and Harvard. While at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Karola led a project looking at the genetic adaptation of modern humans to an agriculturalist diet and, in 2016, she founded a consultancy specialising in academic grants applications, scientific editing, and data analysis.
Gossipsub v1.1 at 'Open Tech Will Save Us' virtual event
ResNetLab was present at Open Tech Will Save Us virtual meetup, an event organized by the Matrix.org team during which participants could watch a live stream provided by Jitsi and ask questions using the Matrix protocol (often through a client like Riot).
Protocol Labs launches a COVID-19 Open Innovation Grants program
In 2018, Protocol Labs launched a Request for Proposals program to support research in distributed systems, cryptography, and other areas of interest to our projects and company. To date, we have given over $500,000, with results made available to the public under open-source licenses.
SourceCred: an introduction to calculating cred and grain
You may not know that Protocol Labs is a supporter of an open-source governance and sustainability project called SourceCred. As a participant in a small SourceCred meetup last month, I learned enough about the underlying algorithm that I wrote up an explainer for their documentation repo and thought it might be interesting to share it here as well.
The Underlay seeks qualified software engineer
The Underlay, a Protocol Labs independent research project undertaken in conjunction with the Knowledge Futures Group at MIT, is currently looking for a Software Engineer with strong full-stack web development skills and an interest in semantic web and decentralized web technologies.
Yiannis Psaras joins Protocol Labs Research
Yiannis (Ioannis) is joining the Resilient Networks Lab, which he helped get off the ground after becoming an advisor to PL in July 2019. Yiannis is currently a fellow of the United Kingdom’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and a Lecturer at University College London, where he has worked on a number of topics within the broad field of networking, with a significant focus on Information-Centric Networking (ICN).
Sarah Azouvi joins Protocol Labs Research
Sarah joins us from the Information Security Group at University College London, where she did research on consensus and worked towards her forthcoming PhD in Computer Science. During her studies, she collaborated with Protocol Labs and was also an intern at Calibra.
Luca Nizzardo’s thesis wins UPM Extraordinary Award
Source: IMDEA Software Institute. Posted here with permission.
Luca Nizzardo was a PhD student of the IMDEA Software Institute and his thesis “Cryptographic Techniques for the Security of Cloud and Blockchain Systems” defended in 2018 was directed by Associate Professor Dario Fiore.
A new lab for resilient networks research
Resiliency is at the core of systems that are capable of standing the test of time, providing unshakable access for the many generations to come. A resilient system or network is fundamentally uncompromised by an isolated failure or network split.
To the future...
Protocol Labs is a remarkably ambitious and ideological company. For example, our team’s dedication to abstraction has left us with an unusually modular corporate structure, and our belief in future-proof solutions has us biting off so much that we’re often left chewing for a long time.