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Purdue University research group receives $8M from Algorand Foundation to transform blockchain ecosystem at global scale


Vassilis Zikas, associate professor of computer science and security researcher who leads the Purdue Blockchain lab (The PuB)
Vassilis Zikas, associate professor of computer science and security researcher leads the research group which was awarded an $8M grant.

The Department of Computer Science at Purdue University was awarded an $8 million grant from the Algorand Foundation. The Algorand blockchain is a carbon-neutral Layer 1 blockchain that solves for the blockchain trilemma by achieving both security and scalability on decentralized protocol.


The project, titled MEGA-ACE (Multidisciplinary Educational Global Alliance for Algorand Center of Excellence), is a multi-institute collaboration network led and coordinated by primary investigator Vassilis Zikas, associate professor of computer science and security researcher who leads the Purdue Blockchain lab (The PuB). Also from Purdue is Assistant Professor Alex Psomas – both Zikas and Psomas will contribute to the project in cryptography, distributed computing, and economics.

Issues ranging from economics and social choice to cryptography and architecture are traditionally known problems in blockchain research. The grant will fund a 3-year project which aims to advance the theory and applications of blockchain. Purdue was one of 10 global award winners in the Algorand Centres of Excellence (ACEs) Program.

“I am excited to receive this selective award and eager to work with the fantastic MEGA-ACEs team to achieve our ambitious goal of taking blockchain to its next level,” said Zikas. He added, “Blockchain technology is positioned to play a central role in the transformation of our networked society towards a more transparent and trustworthy ecosystem. With its global footprint MEGA-ACE aims to build a mobility network of researchers and students which allows us to target our research and implementation efforts to problems informed by the needs of societies in all five continents.”

The project, led by Purdue, includes a diverse team of 15 sub-awardees from five continents, including representatives from both academia and industry, striking a balance of members with diversity in gender, race, and ethnicity.

The researchers are committed to developing applications for end-to-end solutions in the Algorand ecosystem that address infrastructure problems in their local communities (Argentina, Greece, India, Kenya, Mexico). 

Additionally they are developing a teaching agenda which aims to touch millions of students globally with multi-lingual material and over 30 collaborative events (workshops, schools, hackathons, blockchain days) to seed blockchain research in all the partners’ universities and institutes.


MEGA-ACE Research team:
North America
Purdue University - Professors Vassilis Zikas and Alex Psomas
Cornell - Professors Joseph Halpern and Rafael Pass
UCLA - Professor Rafail Ostrovsky
Texas A&M - Professor Juan Garay
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Professors Lirong Xia and Dr. Oshani Seneviratne
Stealth Software Technologies Commercial, Inc. - Drs. Steve Lu and Paul Bunn
Bar-Ilan, Israel Professor Carmit Hazay
Reichman University, Israel Dr. Ran Cohen
IIT Bombay, India - Professors Manoj Prabhakaran, Umesh Bellur, and Vinay Ribeiro
IIT Madras, India - Professor Shweta Agrawal
Ecole Polytechnique, France - Professor Julien Prat
National Technical University of Athens, Greece - Professor Aris Pagourtzis
South America
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico - Professors Rocío Aldeco-Pérez and Sergio Rajsbaum
University of Buenos Aires, Argentina - Professors Esteban Mocskos and Diego Garbervetsky
CoinFabrik, Argentina - Drs. Ariel Waissbein, Gustavo Sadovoy, and Sebastián Raul Wain 
Australia National University, Australia - Professor Vanessa Teague
University of Nairobi, Kenya - Drs. Andrew Mwaura Kahonge and Evans Miriti

About the Algorand Foundation

The Algorand blockchain — designed by MIT professor and Turing Award winning cryptographer Silvio Micali — is capable of delivering on the promise of a borderless global economy. It achieves transaction throughputs at the speed of traditional finance, with immediate finality and near zero transaction costs, and without a second of downtime since it went live in June 2019. Its carbon-neutral platform and unique pure proof-of-stake consensus mechanism solves for the "blockchain trilemma" by achieving both security and scalability on a decentralized protocol. The Algorand Foundation is dedicated to helping fulfill the global promise of the Algorand blockchain by taking responsibility for its sound monetary supply economics, decentralized governance, and healthy and prosperous open-source ecosystem. For more information, visit algorand.foundation.

About the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University

Founded in 1962, the Department of Computer Science was created to be an innovative base of knowledge in the emerging field of computing as the first degree-awarding program in the United States. The department continues to advance the computer science industry through research. US News & Reports ranks Purdue CS #20 and #18 overall in graduate and undergraduate programs respectively, ninth in both software engineering and cybersecurity, 13th in programming languages, 17th in computing systems, 22nd in theory, and 24th in artificial intelligence. Graduates of the program are able to solve complex and challenging problems in many fields. Our consistent success in an ever-changing landscape is reflected in the record undergraduate enrollment, increased faculty hiring, innovative research projects, and the creation of new academic programs. The increasing centrality of computer science in academic disciplines and society, and new research activities - centered around data science, artificial intelligence, programming languages, theoretical computer science, machine learning, and cybersecurity - are the future focus of the department. cs.purdue.edu

Writer: Emily Kinsell, emily@purdue.edu
Source: Vassilis Zikas, vzikas@purdue.edu

Last Updated: Aug 4, 2022 6:26 PM

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