James Littlejohn – Keeping computations honest @ Ethereum Meetup Edinburgh

Why try to keep computations honest?

Governance and computers (either human or mechanical – before there were mechanical computers, people did the job of calculation for mathematics and engineering) are required for democracy – eg counting votes.

How can you “bring computations to the data”?

In the case of Google (one of the world’s leading data storers) – they know they will go bankrupt because of the exponentially increasing volume of data coming onto the internet, requiring their computational ability to increase exponentially. They are looking for solutions to fix this – including using a federated database system – a type of meta-database management system (DBMS), which transparently maps multiple autonomous database systems into a single federated database

Centralised –> Federated –> Decentralised

James has been looking at decentralised data models for machine learning.

James briefly touched on “Golem” – https://golem.network/

Golem is a global, open sourced, decentralized supercomputer that anyone can access. It’s made up of the combined power of user’s machines, from personal laptops to entire datacenters.

Anyone will be able to use Golem to compute (almost) any program you can think of, from rendering to research to running websites, in a completely decentralized & inexpensive way.

The Golem Network is a decentralized sharing economy of computing power, where anyone can make money ‘renting’ out their computing power or developing & selling software.

But it’s not just a utility platform, for uploading data for example.

James then talked about a distributed network for health.

It takes heart rate data from his wearable, then averages it with a computation and stores it.

James talked about how TrueBit can be used to validate this computation with others on the network, and if there are any computations identified as being incorrect, then the computer that supplied that incorrect computation is a “bad actor” and can be removed from the network and the calculation re-started.

James discussed some of these issues in a lot more detail, which frankly went over my head, but I have several areas to start reading including an edx course recommended to me:


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