The northern end of Ice House Street, near the junction with Chater Road. Input Output Hong Kong is located at Suites 2001-3, 20th Floor,
St. George’s Building 2, Ice House Street, Central Hong Kong

Blockchain research and development company Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) announced in press releases sent to CoinReport that it, with the University of Edinburgh, has established a Blockchain Technology Laboratory and, with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, created the Input Output Cryptocurrency Collaborative Research Chair.

The lab is located within the Appleton Tower of Edinburgh University’s School of Informatics, while the chair is located within the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s School of Computing.

Blockchain Technology Laboratory

The lab will unite students and academics to work together on blockchain research and development with an emphasis on industry-inspired issues.

IOHK co-founder and CEO Charles Hoskinson said on the occasion, “IOHK is delighted to be partnering with the University of Edinburgh, a world-leading institution in information, cognition and computing research and teaching. The partnership will develop IOHK’s core business area, cryptocurrencies and blockchain related technologies, and nurture and develop the global talent in these areas in the United Kingdom.”

Serving as the headquarters for IOHK’s growing network of global university partnerships, the lab is led by Professor Aggelos Kiayias, chair in cyber security and privacy at the University of Edinburgh and chief scientist at IOHK. Prof. Kiayias, as the director of the lab, will organize teamwork with other academics at the university and supervise researchers and students from undergraduate to PhD level in a wide array of topics connected to blockchain systems.

Square in front of the McEwan Hall, University of Edinburgh, on graduation day

Being interdisciplinary in nature, research collaborations will include, beyond cryptography and computer science, business, game theory, law, regulation and compliance and economics. By offering a direct connection between researchers and developers, the lab helps to get projects live faster and aims to pursue outreach projects with businesspersons in the vibrant local technology community of Edinburgh. Outreach and recruiting has already begun. The full facility, however, will be operational from summer…

Professor Kiayias said: “We are very excited regarding this collaboration on blockchain technology between the School of Informatics and IOHK. Distributed ledgers is an upcoming disruptive technology that can scale information services to a global level. The academic and industry connection forged by this collaboration puts the Blockchain Technology Lab at Edinburgh at the forefront of innovation in blockchain systems.”

All funded research and development will be open source and patent-free.

Sir Timothy O’Shea, the principal of the University of Edinburgh, said, “We are delighted to be at the forefront of UK institutions in the field of distributed ledgers and proud to have a dedicated research laboratory for industry inspired research in this important emerging area.”

IOHK co-founder Jeremy Wood commented, “IOHK’s partnership with the University of Edinburgh provides unique opportunities for current students to become the next generation of blockchain and cryptography leaders. As a headquarters for IOHK’s international academic research community, we expect to see the university facilitate innovative projects that drive how businesses and governments approach blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

Input Output Cryptocurrency Collaborative Research Chair

The Centennial Hall in Ōokayama campus of Tokyo Institute of Technology, designed by the renowned architect Kazuo Shinohara, professor at Tokodai.

Under the banner of the chair, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and IOHK will, during 2017 and 2018, push joint research in blockchain and digital currencies-related technologies among teams of professors and researchers of the two establishments. Specifically, IOHK researchers will join the institute, while graduate students and professors will take on industry issues in this fast-evolving area of research.

The chair also has the goal of producing young professionals and educating society about blockchain’s benefits.

Hoskinson said, “This collaboration has two main goals: the first is develop our business area, which is cryptocurrencies and blockchain related technologies in the fundamental level. The second is to nurture and develop global talent in these areas in Japan.”

The Tokyo Institute of Technology president Yoshinao Mishima commented, “This agreement is important because Tokyo Tech is seeking to enhance the collaboration with industries and universities in Japan and abroad by producing groundbreaking results in research and engineering which will be published in internationally renowned scientific journals and conferences.”

Researchers of both organizations will produce actionable research through joint activities like production of academic papers and organization of seminars. Another activity is to start offering blockchain technology courses with lectures on the topics of cryptocurrencies and cryptographic protocols, made available to the students of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, pioneering it among educational institutions in Japan.

All research and developments in the labs will be open source and patent-free, with the research findings helping the industry at large.

The formation of the chair is an extension of a six-month collaborative work agreement between IOHK and the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The agreement began on July 1, 2016 and concluded on December 31. Professor Tanaka, who is the chief research for the chair on behalf of the institute, and his team were in contact with IOHK during the period of the agreement, with weekly seminars being conducted and a body of students studying the scientific literature and the latest development of digital currencies. The end result of these activities was a published paper that was presented at the Symposium Cryptography and information Security (SCIS), the national forum in Japan for security research, in January 2017. Another activity presently under way is the Japanese version of the Ouroboros paper, the Proof-of-Stake protocol developed by IOHK.

The chair will, from 2017, improve the founded association with the inclusion of the two IOHK researchers, Dr. Mario Larangeira and Bernardo David, to Prof. Tanaka-managed Tokyo Institute of Technology research team. Both of them will work full-time with the team of Prof. Tanaka at Ookayama campus, the institute’s main campus, on daily basis.

The chair will also support graduate students and researchers to attend international conferences.

IOHK is committed to developing industry standards and best practices that progress the field of cryptography. The company’s chair, along with the center at the University of Edinburgh, is the first in its growing global network of technology laboratories. IOHK intends to set up more research laboratories, particularly in the United States and Greece, later this year, and has plans for more the following year.

Image credits:

Photo of Ice House Street – Ceeseven  (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Photo of square in front of McEwan Hall – Duncan Grey  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo of The Centennial Hall in Ōokayama campus – Hykw-a4 at Japanese Wikipedia  (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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