TUM Research Groups Selected as Global Winners for Blockchain and Education Program offered by Algorand Foundation

The Algorand protocol [1] is a carbon-zero Layer 1 Blockchain technology, founded by the Turing Award winner and MIT professor Silvio Micali. Based on pure Proof-of-Stake (POS) consensus, Algorand currently supports 1000 transactions per second (TPS) with a 4.5 second settlement finality and offers a powerful smart contract platform based on the Algorand Virtual Machine (AVM).

The Algorand Centres of Excellence (ACE) programme [2], funded by the Algorand Foundation, is dedicated to support research, education, development, and social impact of projects in the Blockchain and distributed ledger space. In total, the Algorand Foundation selected 10 centers of excellence globally out of 77 proposals with over 550 participants, representing 46 countries. The projects were evalauted by 27 international experts with various backgrounds.

TUM is represented among other awardees such as University of California Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Yale and Purdue Universities, and Nanyang Technological University from Singapore. In total 36 additional sub-organizations are involved with representation from the USA, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.

In the challenging competition, the TUM project ACE-SUPPRA (Security, Usability, Performance, and Privacy Research in Algorand) was selected for a five year long research initiative grant with educational and outreach elements. The Principal Investigator (PI) of ACE-SUPPRA is Prof. Georg Carle, head of the Chair of Network Architectures and Services (NET). ACE-SUPPRA is an interdisciplinary initiative, involving teams of different TUM departments with the following Co-PIs:

  • Prof. Andreas Herkersdorf – Chair of Integrated Systems (LIS)
  • Prof. Florian Matthes – Chair of Software Engineering for Business Information Systems (SEBIS)
  • Prof. Alexander Pretschner – Chair of Software and Systems Engineering (SSE)
  • Prof. Isabell Welpe – Chair for Strategy and Organization (SAO)

Research of the involved groups, building on their key competencies, addresses technical, economic, and social aspects of blockchain technologies in relation to the Algorand protocol. The Chair of Prof. Carle targets assessment of the Algorand infrastructure, aiming for the improvement of its performance, and research of more secure and privacy-preserving techniques for the Algorand users. Prof. Herkersdorf and his team address performance enhancements using SmartNICs to which certain operations can be offloaded. Smart contract capabilities are a key factor to blockchain adoption and usability, which will be investigated by the research group of Prof. Preschner, aiming to improve robustness, quality, and security. Focusing on secure usability, Prof. Matthes aims to offer solutions to minimize risks and overhead caused by smart contract development. The team of Prof. Welpe addresses aspects of tokenomics and governance of Algorand. ACE-SUPPRA outreach activities include the organization of workshops and Hackathons.

The official announcement of the award winners by the Algorand Foundation can be found here.