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See what's been happening at Protocol Labs Research...

We are so grateful for your continued support of and interest in Protocol Labs research! Below you'll find a summary of what's been happening here since our last newsletter. This includes updates on all of our research labs, info on our new grant offerings, highlighted job openings, blog posts, tutorials, research talks, and more. Thanks for taking the time to peruse!

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Updates from our Research Labs!
Protocol Labs has spent much of 2021 expanding our researchers' cutting-edge work at the intersections of use-inspired basic research, pure applied research, and development. Below is a brief summary of the work each lab has conducted over Q2! If you find any of the work interesting and would like to join our team, take a look at the job listings at the end of each summary!
 

AbstractionLab

In Q2, The Underlay implemented a prototype data registry, with a strongly typed data pipeline runtime that we used to evaluate our data model and schema language. Along the way, we open-sourced our React dataflow editor and published a blog post about its technical design.


ConsensusLab

Marko Vukolic has joined us to lead ConsensusLab! Before joining Protocol Labs, Marko was a Principal Research Staff Member at IBM Research Zurich. We are excited to have him on board. Stay tuned to hear more, as Marko boots up ConsensusLab to begin scaling consensus for Filecoin. 

Open positions in ConsensusLab:

CryptoComputeLab

CryptoComputeLab shipped two major Filecoin Proofs releases that include SnarkPack, the tech powering HyperDrive, and a variety of performance improvements, e.g. doubling the performance of MerkleTree building on GPUs. In addition, we have kicked off the VDF project, which will design and build hardware-accelerated VDFs together with partners like the Ethereum Foundation and Supranational.

Open positions in CryptoComputeLab:

CryptoEconLab

CryptoEconLab did a series of research and talks on Filecoin protocol changes and business models with collaborators, as well as publishing blog posts on Filecoin cryptoeconomics.

Talks:
Posts: Open positions in CryptoEconLab:

ResNetLab

In Q2, ResNetLab was busy exploring how to make content routing in P2P networks more configurable and performant. The outcome of this work so far has been the implementation of smart records, and a work-in-progress routing language for a composable routing framework. There is currently no standardized, shared, public medium decoupled from the transport protocol for the interaction of different protocols in a P2P network. With Smart Records (SRs), we generalize the DHT's key/value put/get as a separate protocol that can be leveraged by any other protocol (including DHT protocols) to store arbitrary data. Have a look at these examples to learn more about how smart records can be used for your application.

Open positions in ResNetLab:
New Funding Opportunities
Open grants spectrum:
In our last newsletter, we previewed an upcoming rollout of an entire array of open grants. PL Research unveiled this new grant spectrum on June 1, 2021! The new offerings include grants for PhD and postdoctoral fellowships, investigator awards, sabbatical awards, and more! Grant applications are taken on a rolling basis, and (unless otherwise specified) are reviewed beginning the second weeks of April and September. The first phase of reviews will be conducted in September 2021. Check out all of these grants at grants.protocol.ai.
 

In May 2021, we launched two new RFPs: 

If you or someone you know is interested in working with our CryptoNet researchers, make sure they apply at the links above. Each grant is up to $50k, and we will award more than one grant per RFP if warranted. 

The deadline to apply is August 30, 2021.
zk-SNARKS for the world!
Did you know Filecoin is the largest zk-SNARK network deployed to date?

For the past two years we have been working on bringing zk-SNARKs to the world and to the Filecoin Network. While this journey is far from over, we wanted to give you a peak at where we are today. To that end, we’re launching a zk-SNARKs for the world minisite, which showcases the use of SNARKs in Filecoin and some of the key improvements that allowed us to scale to this level.

When we set out to build Filecoin, there was no precedent for the volume of proofs which would be required to secure a network as large as we envisioned. Over the course of development leading up to the network launch, we successively cleared hurdle after hurdle to make our use of zk-SNARKs practical. Since launch, we have continued to bring new research to bear to further improve performance. Today’s Filecoin proofs occupy the intersection of cutting-edge research and boundary-pushing engineering.
DI2F: Decentralising the Internet with IPFS and Filecoin
ResNetLab organized the first workshop on decentralized Internet protocols, architectures, technologies, and services. The workshop, held June 21, was a phenomenal success, with an interactive audience with 11 contributions presented, a hands-on session, and a Hackathon Competition that yielded some extremely valuable contributions. Check the Nebula Crawler for a crawling and monitoring tool for libp2p-based networks and Deece for a decentralized search engine. You can find the full program, including slides, on the workshop’s website and the presentation recordings on here.
Get Involved!
There are a number of ways to participate in what Protocol Labs Research is doing. Here are just a few:
 
ResNetLab on Tour tutorials go on-demand
Check out the most comprehensive tutorial series on our Web3.0 stack in existence! ResNetLab has put together a series of 20-30 minute video tutorials explaining concepts and protocol details about all things Web3.0. Head to the website, watch the tutorials, leave your feedback and get involved in our research community!
 
Head over to the project's page, where you will also find all the presentation materials, which you are free to download and re-use for your own event or lecture. Get involved and follow the discussions at ResNetLab's GitHub discussion forum. For more background on the roots of this project, check out our recent blog post.


Reading Sessions

ResNetLab has started bi-weekly reading sessions. designed to gather knowledge of as many papers as possible by sharing insights in a sync session. 4 or 5 members take turns reading and presenting paper summaries to the larger group (~10mins each), followed by ~2-3 minutes of questions per paper. The goal is to expedite learning through collaborative knowledge sharing.

Reading Sessions are scheduled every other Friday at 4pm UTC, the next of which will be July 30. If you are interested in participating, please email resnetlab@protocol.ai


Research Talks
As most of you know, we have regular (average one per week) talks from a variety of researchers on topics of interest to Protocol Labs and the larger community. If you are not getting monthly emails announcing upcoming talks and would like to, please email research@protocol.ai or update your preferences to include talks. Check out upcoming talks here. Talks are also posted to YouTube.
 
Some highlighted Q2 research talks:

Come work for us!
As a continually growing startup company, we are always on the lookout for great talent, both technical and non-technical. Specific to research, we are actively looking for research program managers, research administrators, research engineers, technical program managers, protocol engineers, and research scientists... and that's JUST within the research sector at PL! 

Check the full list of Protocol Labs' open jobs here
 
Q1 Publications and Selected Blog Posts


Publications:

Blog Posts (visit research.protocol.ai/blog for more):

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