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NASA Awarded A Grant For Ethereum Blockchain-Related Research

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NASA has awarded a grant to the University of Akron for research into data analysis and other topics related to space exploration. The allocation will help a team led by associate professor Jin Wei to pioneer a resilient networking system based in part on the Ethereum blockchain.

Space exploration has taken monumental leaps, but many of our tools are still tethered to Earth for data and instructions. As satellites move further from Earth, NASA must send information further into deep space to reach them. As the distance grows, sending transmissions takes more and more time. But satellites must receive communication swiftly, in order to respond to threats like space debris and opportunities to collect data. Enabling a satellite to use AI and fuzzy logic, working over a swiftly-responding blockchain network, would be of great benefit, essentially allowing the satellite to “think” for itself in some cases.

In late 2017, NASA awarded a three-year grant worth $330,000 (with an action obligation of $224,152) to the University of Akron for research into a “resilient networking and computing paradigm” (RNCP) that makes use of “decentralized computing infrastructure.” The proposed system would rely on such technologies as the Ethereum blockchain and an AI scheme involving “deep learning techniques and fuzzy logic methods.”

Among the goals of the program are measures to protect NASA vehicles from collisions with space junk orbiting the earth, which can damage or completely incapacitate them, and the processing of highly complex data.

At the helm of the research project is Dr. Jin Wei (sometimes credited as Jin Kocsis or Jin Wei Kocsis), an assistant professor with the University of Akron’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

A write-up published by the Collier Report of US Government Spending, which shares a significant amount of language with a project summary ostensibly penned by Wei, describes plans to develop a “data-driven resilient and cognitive networking management architecture.” Wei’s team will also conduct research into decentralized computing mechanisms that could prove instrumental in processing “the massive amount of high-dimensional data” often collected by NASA spacecraft.

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