Blockchain Infrastructure for E-Science
Friday, September 30, 2016 - 09:00
IEEE eScience Conference Series organizers state that “eScience promotes innovation in collaborative, computationally- or data-intensive research across all disciplines, throughout the research lifecycle.” Even though a lot of software, algorithmic tools, computational and storage resources are now available that will help researchers do eScience, there are also missing tools and infrastructures that will help organization, collaboration, sharing, governance, funding, auditing and resource management activities in eScience in an autonomous, scalable and sustainable way. Up until now, these activities have usually been carried out manually within the life cycle of a funded project. But once a project is over, and if the project team is not granted a new follow-up project, all the effort that goes into organization and building of a research community maybe wasted since all these activities and mechanisms are carried out under the umbrella of a centrally managed project with a finite lifetime. Even large virtual research communities that are assembled as a result of project dissemination activities run the risk of fading away because a project’s team may no longer exists and external and willing researchers cannot take the flag from the existing ones and continue the community. We need new models and infrastructures that will allow us to develop virtual organizations and provide governance and collaborative sharing abstractions of various entities such as software and data which can potentially run autonomously indefinitely and hence help achieve sustainability of these entities.
The recently emerging peer-to-peer based Blockchain technology has become enabler of crypto-currencies and smart contracts. In particular, smart contracts enable Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) to be established and run on blockchain infrastructures. Ethereum (https://www.ethereum.org/) is a blockchain based infrastructure that provide distributed autonomous running of smart contracts programmed using Solidity language We propose development of an E-Science Blockchain Infrastructure (eBloc) based on the Ethereum smarts contracts platform. We plan to use this infrastructure for diverse eScience related activites. A sample of applications are: (i) Resource Management in eScience, (ii) Distributed Autonomous Organization ( DAO ) based Virtual Research Environments (iii) Open (free) standardized and/or template smart contracts for eScience and (iii) e-Skills and Professional network on the blockchain. Further details are available at http://ebloc.org . We invite collaborations for participating in the building and running of this peer-to-peer infrastructure.