IOTA Research Summit 2019

The IOTA research department recently gathered for one week of focused discussion and planning around some of the most critical aspects of the organizational roadmap, including Coordicide and attack analysis. This blog post summarizes the events, and offers some insights into the solutions and progress made during the conference.

In total, eighteen members of the research team met in Barcelona, Spain during the second week of February. This was not the first time the research team has spent time together in person, but it was the first time doing so with Director of Research Moody Alam at the helm. As the team has grown and matured, Moody’s oversight of the various teams and projects that comprise the research department has become a critical role. Setting defined goals, with specific project leaders and team members are critical to success. This recent meeting was the perfect opportunity to see how all the different moving parts of the department fit together.

Dr. Moody Alam, Director of Research

In the following video clip, Moody shares a brief overview of the central mission of the IOTA Research department (please see the bottom of this post for a link to the full Q&A video):

Professor Vassil Dimitrov, Senior Research Scientist

An overarching theme of ReSum was to understand the importance of the research group’s role in bringing IOTA to its next stage of life.

Fueled by lots of espresso, the week began with a presentation by Moody about the overall status of the research department and an overview of the longer term vision. The immediate tasks of understanding the Tangle and developing the path to Coordicide can be understood within the context of the broader crypto-sphere. As many projects work toward the goal of achieving the “next generation” DLT, the IOTA Research Department is positioned as a leader in the field. Our goal, however, is to be the top research group, and we believe that our dedicated team is fully capable of achieving that mantle.

Over the past months, we have achieved some very interesting results, which were a major focus of discussion during the week. We look forward to sharing these with the community soon. Director of Research Moody Alam summarizes our approach to research and communication about research progress in the video clip below:

Professor Serguei Popov, Board of Directors
Serguei and Professor Robert Shorten

Sharing knowledge and optimizing collaborative practices

Much of the team’s time in the first two days was spent going back and forth between individual presentations to the whole department, and working in team groups to help ensure that the overall workflow within the department is optimized. Given the complexity of the technical challenges and the desire to minimize wasted time and duplicated efforts, a top priority for the meeting was to establish research processes by which we can proceed and measure our own progress. Beyond working on a Research Charter as a department, individual teams set quarterly goals for themselves, in alignment with the broader team.

Alon Gal, Senior Research Engineer
Dany Shaanan, Research Scientist
Hammering out research steps and processes
Wolfgang Welz, Senior Research Engineer/Coordicide Project Lead
Bartosz Kusmierz, Research Scientist/Attack Analysis Project Lead
Olivia Saa, Research Scientist
Andreas Penzkofer, Research Scientist

Digging in to the meat of the work, and moving toward an answer to the proverbial, “Wen?”

The last days of the summit were set aside primarily for teams to work on all of the tasks that normally are coordinated in a virtual space. It was a wonderful opportunity for project leaders to set forth their specific priorities and for tasks to be delegated to individuals. These days were full of white-boarding and intricate discussion about approaches to specific questions or challenges. The Coordicide and Attack Analysis teams mostly worked separately for these few days, but did come together at the end to present their progress to the whole department. These days afforded an opportunity for the creative process to take over, as clarity about questions, requirements, and next steps, guided the team’s work. The topics of coordicide and reusable addresses were a big focus, and much progress was made. We look forward to sharing more about everything in the future.

In these two clips, Wolfgang Welz and Hans Moog discuss some topics of great interest by the community, Coordicide and reusable addresses, respectively:


Bart presenting an overview of the attack analysis team’s efforts
Angelo Capossele, Senior Research Scientist, presenting the parasite chain attack
Olivia and Billy Sanders, Research Scientist, presenting on the splitting attack
Alon Elmaliah, Staff Research Engineer, presenting the latest research on node discovery
Beautiful Barcelona

No IOTA summit would be complete without good fun and late evenings

Our work days ended around 6pm, but discussion of IOTA never stopped. From great meals with most of the team in the evenings, to late night rooftop terrace talks, the research summit was a great overall team building event. The camaraderie and personal relationships developed during the summit demonstrate the importance of such “in real life” meetings for what is normally a distributed team. It was wonderful to spend time with others who share a genuine passion about IOTA and a desire for success. It’s always great fun to see how people’s personalities match or differ from your expectations after knowing them only online. As expected, everyone got on great, and had tons of fun. We hope to share more results and good news in Q2 2019!

Even the napkins end up covered in little Tangles!
Cheers to a great week!

Please check out the full Q&A session with members of the research team here (about 40 minutes):

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