Friday Hacks #209: Algorithm Design & Hacking Decentralised Finance

Posted on by Zhang Ziqing

Date/Time: Friday, September 17 at 7:00pm
Venue: AS6 LT15 & Online on Zoom (Hybrid)

RSVP: Sign up here only if you are NUS attendees and wish to come for F2F Session.
Zoom Link:

Optimism, Pessimism, and Algorithms (a conversation between Marvin and Zaphod)

Talk Description:

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? In this talk, I’ll attempt to help you answer this question from the perspective of algorithm design. The talk will consist of three short vignettes related to my research the illustrate the trade-offs between optimism and pessimism: (1) Accountable blockchains are optimistic! (2) Smoothed analysis shows that mobile networks can work! (3) Learning-augmented data structures can avoid catastrophe! In the process, I will at the same time try to give a peek into the world of algorithms research, talking about how I choose research problems, and perhaps answering the age-old question of whether optimists or pessimists make better researchers.

Speaker Profile:

Seth Gilbert is an Associate Professor at NUS. His research focuses on distributed algorithms, particularly questions related to very large-scale distributed networks, such as: How do algorithms scale as networks get very big? How do we design algorithms that are robust? How do we adapt to rapidly changing networks? His research includes work on network consistency (e.g., the CAP Theorem), dynamic spectrum access in wireless networks, contention resolution (e.g., exponential backoff), and algorithms for highly dynamic networks. He received his PhD from MIT in 2007, and before that he worked as a software developer at Microsoft.

Hacking Decentralised Finance (DeFi)

Talk Description:

Decentralised finance (DeFi) refers to a category of applications that creates financial products on public, decentralised blockchain network. Open to anyone, DeFi products allow you to borrow, save, invest and trade. What’s amazing is that you can make a product and launch it on the blockchain yourself with some programming experience.

In this talk, Edison will:

  • Short introduction to DeFi - what it is about
  • Overview of various classes of DeFi products - borrowing/lending, synthetic assets, algorithmic stablecoins, exchanges and more.
  • Composability between DeFi protocols - how different protocols interact with each other
  • Quick hack! Short demo of how to write a simple script to interact with a DeFi protocol

Speaker Profile:

Edison is programmer and entrepreneur who enjoys tinkering with the blockchain and decentralised finance protocols.

Edison was an early team member at Zilliqa, a high-throughput blockchain project which is based of a research at NUS. At Zilliqa, he work on backend systems and applications such as a custody software that is based on Intel SGX. Most recently, Edison headed the Engineering Team at Aqilliz, an advertising technology company which aims to make advertising more transparent, where he was in-charge of product development. He recently started a new project called Suberra, which focuses more on decentralised finance.

Edison holds a M.Sc from Carnegie Mellon University, where he specialized in distributed systems.

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