Wan project receives $1.5 million for blockchain research

A Purdue Industrial Engineering lab has received a $1.5 million grant from CollinStar Capital Pty Ltd to support blockchain research and technology development.
Purdue Blockchain Lab group — Front (left to right): Mario Ventresca, Hong Wan, Vaneet Aggarwal; Back (left to right): Fang Chen, Xinqi Gao, Larissa Mori, Bryan Chong, and Arnob Ghosh
Purdue Blockchain Lab group — Front (left to right): Mario Ventresca, Hong Wan, Vaneet Aggarwal; Back (left to right): Fang Chen, Xinqi Gao, Larissa Mori, Bryan Chong, and Arnob Ghosh

The Purdue Blockchain Lab, headed by Hong Wan, associate professor of industrial engineering, is the first research lab in the U.S. to study blockchains from an Operations Research perspective, and will work on characterization and application of blockchains to various areas. Wan’s project is titled “Blockchain Pioneer Research with Applications in IoT, AI and Big Data”.

“This is a groundbreaking initiative,” says Wan, “because there are tremendous opportunities in blockchain technology, and research in this area has just begun. In the Purdue Blockchain Lab, our research will focus on Characterization and Benchmarking of Blockchains, Simulation of Blockchains, Blockchains for IoT and Supply Chain, and Blockchains for Big Data and AI.”

A blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a dynamic list of records, secured against tampering and revision. The project hypothesizes that a blockchain establishes a system of creating a distributed consensus in the digital online world, allowing participating entities to know for certain that a digital event happened by creating an incorruptible record in a public ledger. A blockchain opens the door for developing an open and scalable digital economy from a centralized one, and has three main features:

  • Veracity — Multiple copies of the complete historical record of ledger entries are each verified by consensus. Bogus entries are identified and eliminated by failure to reach consensus.
  • Transparency — It is a public record of activity that can be seen by all market participants.
  • Disintermediation — It operates using a peer-to-peer network, rather than requiring a specific central organization.

Wan, the director, is joined by Dadi Xing, PhD, co-director, and fellow Purdue IE faculty Vaneet Aggarwal and Mario Ventresca, both assistant professors of industrial engineering. Wan will work on systems characterization and simulation, Aggarwal will research distributed systems and cloud computing, and Ventresca will focus on complex systems and algorithmic game theory.

Other researchers include Siyuan Liu, co-director of Blockchain Lab Business Intelligence and assistant professor, Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University; Jacob Cheng, co-director of Blockchain Business Development and managing partner, CollinStar Capital Pty Ltd.; Xiaowei Xu, associate professor of Rutgers Business School; and Purdue IE graduate students Xinqi Gao, Yang Zhang, and Wenyu Wang.

Wan envisions using cloud computing and hosting events such as workshops, roundtables, and distinguished lectures. The three-year project will include a landmark paper on the challenges and opportunities in using blockchain for IE, constructing agent-based blockchain simulation models, proposing blockchain evaluation criteria, and exploring blockchain applications in various areas including IOT and data management. Wan expects multiple groundbreaking publications from the project.

The project will support several research positions. Interested graduate students and post-doctoral researchers may apply to Hong Wan, 315 N. Grant Street, Grissom Hall Room 392, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, 765-494-7523, hwan@purdue.edu.

Source: Blockchain lab receives $1.5 million grant for project research