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RWTH Aachen
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Simulating the dynamics of interacting blockchain nodes

Thesis type
  • Master
Status Open
Supervisor(s)
Advisor(s)
  • Thomas Osterland

Often only noticed as a technology that enables the digital currency Bitcoin, blockchain is a novel protocol that allows the distributed and secure storing of information and untempered execution of program code in trust-less environments. Did you ever feel the intense desire to write a thesis about blockchain or do you have a slight hope that blockchain is the one-and-only topic that touches your heart? Use your chance now! We are looking forward to hear from you.

 

Each blockchain consists of a set of peers acting as nodes for the management of transactions. Multiple miners competitively aim for adding new blocks to the chain while others are rather passive and merely distribute transactions in the network. Blocks aggregate transactions that can hold different kinds of information: currency, tokens, data or even smart contracts. Every transaction that is added to the blockchain is considered to be immutable. However, due to network effects it is possible in practice that multiple blockchain exists simultaneously in the network. The question arises how to synchronize these multiple chains into one consistent chain. Typically, the longest blockchain wins, but if two blockchains are equally long they coexist until one of the blockchains becomes longer. The transactions of the orphaned blockchain branch that are not yet mined in parallel in the longer blockchain become free, return to the pool of unconfirmed transactions and must be mined again.

We are interested in analyzing the dynamics of such a blockchain network and how the number of network nodes, active miners, involved transactions and network effects such as latency affect the behavior of the network and the ability to persist transactions in acceptable time interval.

Based on an existing implementation of a multi-agent system for simulating network dynamics you need to extend the implementation to enable a sophisticated analysis of the impact of mining strategies and network effects on network topologies. Your environment ought to serve as a testbed for doing massive benchmarks with different analysis aims.

 

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