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Breakthrough Science

“Algorand: A Better Distributed Ledger,” with Silvio Micali

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Title: Algorand: A Better Distributed Ledger
Date: 10/13/17
Speaker: Silvio Micali

Abstract
A distributed ledger is a tamperproof sequence of data that can be read and augmented by everyone. Distributed ledgers stand to revolutionize the way a democratic society operates. They secure all kinds of traditional transactions—such as payments, asset transfers, titling—in the exact order in which they occur; and enable totally new transactions—such as cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. They can remove intermediaries and usher in a new paradigm for trust. As currently implemented, however, distributed ledgers cannot achieve their enormous potential.

Algorand is an alternative, democratic, and efficient distributed ledger. Unlike prior ledgers based on “proof of work,” it dispenses with “miners.” Indeed, Algorand requires only a negligible amount of computation. Moreover, its transaction history does not “fork” with overwhelming probability: i.e., Algorand guarantees the finality of all transactions.

Presenter
Silvio Micali
Faculty at MIT and ACM A.M. Turing Award Winner
Silvio Micali recieved his Laurea in Mathematics from the University of Rome, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1983, he has been on the faculty of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at MIT.

Silvio’s research interests are cryptography, zero knowledge, pseudo-random generation, secure protocols, mechanism design, and distributed ledgers.

Silvio is the recipient of the ACM A.M. Turing Award (in computer science), the Gödel Prize (in theoretical computer science), and the RSA prize (in cryptography). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Academia dei Lincei.

Moderator
Stephen Ibaraki
Venture Capitalist, Serial Entrepreneur, Investor, and Co-Chair of the ACM Practitioners Board
With more than 100 top executive roles, global lifetime achievement and innovation awards and recognitions, a few of executive chairman and serial entrepreneur Stephen Ibaraki’s positions include: Co-Chair of the ACM Practitioners Board; Founding Chair of the Global Industry Council and Vice-Chair IP3 IFIP Board; top 5 blogger IDG-IT World (Canada); Founding Managing Partner at REDDS Venture Investment Partners; Founder of the technology advisory board at Yintech Investment Holdings Ltd.; Founding Chairman for outreach of the UN ITU ICT Discovery Journal; Founding Chair-Moderator/Keynote/Organizer for UN ITU AI events, ITU UN Briefing New York; Founder, Founding Chairman for Outreach, Founding Member of the Steering Committee for the seminal UN ITU AI for Good Global Summit with XPRIZE Foundation; keynote at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE Austin USA); Founding Chairman of the Technology Advisory Council Financial Services Roundtable FinTech Ideas Festival (FSR: 92.7 trillion managed assets, 1.2 trillion annual revenue); Invited Advisor to a board within IEEE; 14 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Global Awards, 3 Global Gold Awards and 3 Founding Fellow Awards. Other roles include nominated Founding Fellow, Past Board Chair and President of the government-chartered Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS).

Breakthrough Science

Fascinating treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun

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People have long been fascinated with the treasures and mysteries around King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. We take a look at some of the amazing artifacts and a brief history behind their discovery.

Artifacts on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where an exhibition titled “King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” is being held in March and April 2018.

A large flail and a copper Heqa Crook which belonged to King Tut.

The pharaoh’s sarcophagus displayed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

Replica of a sandal found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.

A dagger blade belonging to the pharaoh. Research suggests the iron came from a meteorite, possibly from one found near Mersa Matruh, Egypt.

Breastplate made with gold and lapis lazuli and featuring Isis, Osiris and Nephthys, from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Several 3,300-year-old jars were found in the tomb of King Tut. These were filled with food, grains, wine and other items the king might need in his afterlife.

Tutankhamun’s golden sarcophagus is displayed at his tomb, in a glass case, at the Valley of the Kings.

The north wall of King Tut’s burial chamber at his tomb.

Tourists look at the tomb of King Tut, which is displayed inside a glass case at the Valley of the Kings.

Ushabti, a funerary statuette in gilded wood, found in the tomb of the king.

A special installer from Egypt places a canopic container in the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, U.S. The artifact was discovered in the king’s tomb.

A funeral mask found in the pharaoh’s tomb.

Archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon photographed during the opening of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.

The first glimpse of Tutankhamun’s tomb. This was the sight that met the eyes of Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter when they broke down the sealed doorway which divided the ante-chamber of the tomb and the sepulchral hall.

Workers excavate the pharaoh’s tomb.

An aerial view of Howard Carter’s archaeological excavation of the tombs of Pharaohs Ramesses VI and Tutankhamen in Valley of the Kings.

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Breakthrough Science

Breakthrough in Asymmetric TSP (ft. Ola Svensson & Jakub Tarnawski)

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In 2018, the open problem of determining a polynomial-time constant-factor approximation ratio of the asymmetric travelling salesman problem was finally solved by three researchers. Two of them, Ola Svensson and Jakub Tarnawski, are EPFL researchers. They discuss their breakthroughs with us.

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Breakthrough Science

Fossil Ray Discovery

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The second associated specimen ever of a fossil ray (Myledaphus Bipartitus) has been discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park!

Originally published August 26, 2011.

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