I love bringing new academic achievements to practicality through meaningful applications.
Alain Brenzikofer, MSc EEIT ETH
Trust in centralized solutions is nowadays questioned for various reasons. On the one hand, such systems can be attacked by hackers or manipulated by the operator. On the other hand, such solutions often force users to disclose more private data to the operator than would be necessary for the application.
Today's ubiquitous networked devices are becoming an Internet of Things (IoT). In addition to all the benefits, special attention must be given to security and these solutions and the confidentiality of the data.
Distributed systems are based on P2P networks. Since the invention of Bitcoin and Blockchain in 2009, many new platforms have emerged that allow consensus over the content of a database in a P2P network. Cryptocurrencies are only the first use case.
New cryptographic methods make it possible to treat sensitive data confidentially by revealing only the minimum necessary information to the other party. Thus, a vending machine can check if a person is older than 16 years, without revealing their identity or their exact date of birth. Since the invention of Zcash in 2016, it is possible to use such Zero Knowledge Proofs in practice.
Supercomputing Systems has been active in blockchain, IoT and cryptography for several years. Especially in the energy sector concepts and demonstrators were developed.
SCS is also involved in the implementation of the first P2P energy market in Switzerland, the "Quartierstrom" project, combining domain knowledge in the energy sector with blockchain know-how.