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Thu 22 Jun 2017 09:00 - 10:00 at Sala d'Actes, Vertex Building - Keynote

Shared Ledger technology, commonly called Blockchain, provides a fundamentally new approach to enable collaborations among people and organizations. Although the initial focus of Blockchain was on crypto-currencies, it is now finding application in diverse fields ranging from finance to trade logistics to food safety to education to healthcare. A Blockchain network or “fabric” supports a high-reliability, shared, trusted, privacy-preserving, nonrepudiable data repository that evolves over time. Although executing on a family of distributed systems, a Blockchain fabric maintains a single logical database. This is enabled through a combination of encryption and consensus algorithms. Above this foundation, various abstractions and programming paradigms are emerging to specify the logic that manages collaborations. These paradigms, typically centered around “smart contracts”, are fundamentally event-based and anchored on the data held in the Blockchain. Furthermore, they are “distributed” in the sense that the events and responses to them are stemming from multiple stakeholders, often situated across multiple organizations. This talk surveys recent advances in Blockchain and highlights key research challenges, including issues of solution design, modularity, interoperation across smart contracts, support for variation and change, “on-ramping” onto Blockchain, and verification.

Rick Hull is a Senior Research Scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, a position he took in May, 2008. Hull has broad research and innovation interests in the areas of data and information management, workflow and business process, web and converged services. He is currently leading a team that is combining approaches from cognitive computing and Business Process Management, to create new models for process management and to transform how back-office processing is performed. He is also leading a team that is developing a business-level smart contract language for Blockchain. Between 2008 and 2013 Hull led a team at IBM Research working on Business Artifacts and data-centric business process. That work provided foundations for the OMG Case Management Model and Notation (CMMN) standard and the IBM Case Management product. Prior to joining IBM Research, Hull spent 12 years at Bell Labs Research, a division of Lucent (then Alcatel-Lucent, and now Nokia); before that he was a professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California. While at Bell Labs, Hull was instrumental in developing and transferring new technologies into Alcatel-Lucent’s product line, including products for data integration and high-speed rules processing. Over the years, Hull’s research has been supported in part by grants from NSF, DARPA, and AT&T. Hull is co-author of the book “Foundations of Databases” (Addison-Wesley, 1996); has published over 150 refereed articles in journals, conferences and books; and holds 12 U.S. patents. Hull was named Bell Labs Fellow in 2005 and ACM Fellow in 2007. He received a Corporate Award from IBM in 2015 for his contributions in the area of Case Management, and also an “Outstanding Accomplishment” from IBM Research for “Fundamental Contributions to Science or Technology” in the area of data-aware processes.

Thu 22 Jun
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debs-2017-Keynotes09:00 - 10:00
Richard HullIBM T. J. Watson Research Center