43481: Student Information Technology, Telecommunications, Mathematics or similar - Communications aspects for blockchain applications in the internet of things

Updated: about 1 month ago

The Information Transmission Group of the Satellite Networks Department focuses on the design and the analysis of information transmission systems, with emphasis on the modulation, error control coding, signal processing and medium access control aspects. The goal is to lead the evolution of satellite and space communications air interfaces towards higher throughput and reliability relying on solid theoretical foundations.

Blockchain is emerging as a key solution to enable safe and decentralized interactions within a broad range of systems, and has nowadays found applications that go beyond the original cryptocurrency implementation. In particular, the technology has recently drawn interest in the domain of machine type communications and the internet of things (IoT), where it has the potential of enabling secure and resilient exchange of information in large, non-centralized network of devices such as, for instance, smart grids or industry 4.0 setups.

Problem description While appealing, the application of blockchain to the internet of things poses specific and non-trivial challenges. On the one hand, IoT devices are often low-power and low-complexity, preventing the implementation of complex protocol stacks, and rendering transmission and reception of messages costly in terms of available resources. Moreover, machine- type communications typically involve exchange of data packets among a massive number of terminals, sharing a common wireless channel in an uncoordinated fashion. Due to these features, the true potential of blockchain in this context is still elusive, and many open research questions remain. An efficient and viable implementation of the technology calls for dedicated studies to understand the key performance tradeoffs arising in wireless IoT networks.

Key tasks:

  • familiarise with the blockchain protocol and with its applications to IoT
  • study, by means of network simulations, the performance of blockchain in a wireless IoT setup
  • identify and investigate the fundamental trade-offs that arise

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