Academician Rong Chunming: The blockchain system is still based on U.S. China or overtaking on curved roads

Source: NetEase Technology "Master of Science"

Author: Zhang Jianfeng, for Immunity

51-year-old Rong Chunming was born in Guangzhou, China. He has a series of dazzling titles. These titles represent a top status across the Chinese and foreign academic circles. He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Engineering and co-chair of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) blockchain. (2018), President of the IEEE Cloud Computing Association (2017-2019), Director of the China-Norway Innovation Center of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and European ICT Standards Consultant. He is known as the world's top expert in the computer field. Consultant of the Chinese Computer Society.

A few years ago, Rong Chunming, as an international scientist, joined hands with the China National Center for Supercomputing Guangzhou, Tsinghua University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology to lead the Sino-Norwegian supercomputing cooperation, responsible for the big data projects, and with "Tianhe No. 1" and "Tianhe No. 2" supercomputer system cooperation. This type of supercomputing cooperation between China and Europe, according to the organizations and participating scientists, is a strong and powerful alliance that will establish a dialogue and exchange platform between China and Europe to help Chinese scientists understand and participate in EU scientific research programs. , Carry out scientific research cooperation side by side, and jointly climb the peak of world academic research and technological innovation. (According to Xinhuanet)

In 2019, the Blockchain Research Center of Zhejiang University formally established the first and only English academic journal "Blockchain Research" in China that received a CN number. Rong Chunming was invited to serve as the co-editor of the journal. The other editor is Zheda Block Chen Chun, director of the Chain Research Center and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. “Northern Tsinghua University and Southern Zhejiang University” is a division of the industry's blockchain research pattern in China. They founded such a journal, and they intend to create an international academic exchange platform for blockchain disciplines (according to New Finance). On the occasion of domestic blockchain conferences, Rong Chunming's name was also juxtaposed with Chen Chun several times, and the latter learned about the blockchain for the Politburo collectively at the end of October last year.

In recent years, Rong Chunming has been invited to return to China more frequently. The topics of his public speeches are almost all related to blockchain. In the industry, he has witnessed the sudden change of the blockchain from cold to hot in China, describing it as "turning up and straight up." He said that he is most pleased that since 2019, it is obvious that everyone has gradually realized the importance of blockchain technology.

On December 28, 2019, the first four days of the new year, Rong Chunming flew back to Europe from Beijing Capital Airport after a round of visits to China. In the cold winter morning, before leaving, he told Netease Science and Technology "Master of Science" reporters at the hotel next to the airport that the state of development of the blockchain in China was full of relief and excitement. After China's official statement on the blockchain at the highest level, in layman's terms, the next step is to roll up your sleeves and start working.

Rong Chunming said that the most important thing for the development of the blockchain is to build on the consensus that everyone agrees on and to be able to share resources. He hopes to work with his colleagues at home and abroad to innovate in this regard.

"I personally hope that the future direction of the blockchain will not be limited to the so-called financial transactions. In fact, the blockchain, like the Internet, will be involved in many aspects of social life in the future."

In the interview, Rong Chunming mentioned some important views and expectations to the reporter of NetEase Science and Technology “Master of Science”. For example, he hopes that the blockchain can make the Internet truly “my computer” in the future. Call resources and store resources at will, no longer need to carry a computer, hard disk, etc. wherever you go. He also believes that China has the possibility of cornering overtaking in the blockchain, not only because the current development of the blockchain has not been finalized and finalized, but also because China has achieved unique innovations in some aspects. , Showing that they have the corresponding potential-for example, in online payment, China is ahead, and some European countries have not yet spread, they are also trying to learn this.

First, the blockchain ecosystem must also be in its own hands

 

Master of Science: As an international scientist in blockchain research, what do you think of the current development of blockchain, what can China do?

Rong Chunming: I think the most important thing is to make an open source platform, so that China can have its own independent intellectual property rights, instead of simply following others, what others do, we also follow what we do, although This underlying chain is also very important, but I think the more important is the innovation model and platform.

When the Internet started to bubble 20 years ago, it also gradually stepped out of Google, Facebook, Amazon and other models and platforms, so we hope that everyone can really cooperate to create an open source platform, and the most important thing is to invest China's soft power Go outside. If this open source system we are leading can be widely used by everyone, I think China can guide the world's technology development to an important beginning.

There is still a lot of work to do here, and we hope that this real open source platform will eventually become a "my computer" that everyone uses, instead of the simple network computer that used to be, and "my computer" also needs an operating system Or a management system, this system we can create. Such a virtual computer, when you need it, can centralize resources from various remote locations for calculation and free transfer, which are all controlled by each of us, rather than the so-called data desensitization that was used across the board.

Of course, this kind of virtual computer may also be distributed and can be distributed in different places, such as where resources are optimized and prices are best performed, and then the results are aggregated. This federated distributed integration can contribute to the results everyone needs. I think this will be a direction for future development. I estimate that after 10 years, fewer and fewer people will bring their own laptops. The era of putting data or processing methods in local laptops is a thing of the past.

Master of Science: What potential does China have in developing blockchains?

Rong Chunming: Distributed computing in China is already very powerful and mature. We have a Sino-Norwegian supercomputing project and cooperate with some units in domestic supercomputing, so I know China's performance in supercomputing. They did things like grid computing and cloud computing very early, and they are some teams that are ahead of the international.

Because the blockchain itself is distributed computing and distributed ledgers, combining this distributed computing and data, I think it will be a direction for China to achieve overtaking in corners, and I think we can cooperate with the EU. The EU has also said that we must have our digital sovereignty, and the EU is actually very worried. Why does France charge digital taxes (According to Xinhua News Agency: France in August 2019 decided to include Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc. More than 30 global digital businesses with operating income of not less than 750 million euros, and Internet companies with operating income in France exceeding 25 million euros levy a digital tax equivalent to 3% of their turnover in France), also for this digital sovereignty Problem, they feel that this thing depends too much on American technology, and you do n’t have to use it when the relationship is tense, this is not the case.

From the perspective of the blockchain, the biggest problem now is that the system is basically American, or it is Ethereum or the super ledger. Although domestic entities have re-developed some open source systems, many are based on the United States. For example, the foreign password system plus our password mechanism has changed, but these things are constantly updated and iterated. Just like Android, Android is also open source. The problem is that it is slowly driving from the ecosystem. To control you. If such an important technology is developed on the basis of others, problems similar to the Android system will also occur in the future, so the ecology must also be in its own hands. This is the most important.

Therefore, I think that more people from Central Europe, including North America, from all over the world come together to join hands and make a good ecology. On some levels, we can lead this direction. This ecology is not managed by one person or one country, but is managed by everyone under the collective identity. This is the purpose of the blockchain. Many open source systems today are cooperating around the world. Technically, there is no boundary. The EU has a horizon plan, and China has 863 and 973 plans. I think we can definitely find a joint point.

Master of Science: You said that China may overtake a curve. How do you understand this?

Rong Chunming: The blockchain is actually the integration of various technologies, but it turned out that everyone didn't expect it. Many people are anxious to say, what can this thing replace? What is the use? I said don't worry, Facebook and other social media, when you first came out, everyone was not optimistic and was questioned and useless. But to this day, people cannot do without it.

Many things that were not previously thought will gradually appear and be applied, which needs to be explored slowly. That's why I said that you can overtake the curve, because there is still a lot of work to do here, new patents, new ideas, new models, new platforms, new industries, everyone can invest fairly and then build Create a new world, because no one has occupied it. We've only thought of some of them, and it's likely that someone will think of something else.

When you see it, it's probably too late

 

Master of Science: Blockchain has formed a competitive situation internationally. Although many people have not yet understood it, and even what the blockchain does not understand in society, it is already a strategic focus.

Rong Chunming: Actually this technology, whether in the European Union or the United States, and now in China, has begun to pay attention to it. This is not a simple and prescriptive task, but it is based on everyone's individual needs. Many problems can be solved through blockchain, such as data storage and sharing. It was difficult to find a good method before.

Previously we exchanged, for example, I gave you a file, you copied it, and you copied it to others, I ca n’t control it, right? But through the blockchain, I can manage it. You can't make secondary transactions or reuse. I can achieve hierarchical management and dynamic management. I'll show you today, not necessarily tomorrow. I think the blockchain has given us such a mechanism to turn the simple Internet into a valuable and trusted Internet. Because we now believe in a technology, a collective endorsement, rather than the belief of what a person says.

Blockchain will be a very important basic technology, whether it is a super ledger or Ethereum (both in the United States), there are a number of large Internet companies with resources behind them to support them. The prospect. I think that both Chinese companies and governments should support this kind of front-end scientific research. We often say that many people believe because they see it, not because I believe it. The problem is that when you look at it, it is probably too late, and people have already developed a lot.

Because many things can't be seen at once, some investment requires some time and space.

Master of Science: How long is this cycle from the development of the blockchain to the real full maturity and the realization of the value Internet era?

Rong Chunming: The concept of blockchain itself is now relatively mature and everyone has begun to accept it, but many things in technology are mature, including some applications, and there is still a long way to go. This is similar to when the Internet started 20 years ago. Now talent is also scarce. If you want to invite similar experts, you ca n’t get it. This is a bottleneck. You ca n’t find anyone to do it with concepts. These are likely to be problems that need to be solved in the long run. So it is difficult to say who can be the winner in this area.

But because it is difficult to say, this is the opportunity. If all these things are made, there will be no chance. It is because these things have not yet been formed and can be completely reshaped, or you can try any ideas. This is an opportunity for independent innovation and requires everyone to try boldly.

If you try, there will definitely be failure. Failure is the mother of success. Without all kinds of attempts, you don't know which mode will be successful in the end. In fact, even in Silicon Valley, you can see that not every innovative company is successful. The companies that can stay are likely to create new models and make their way.

Now that I am communicating in China, I feel that everyone dares to think and try, I think this is a very exciting place.

Third, don't put everything on the concept of "blockchain +"

 

Master of Science: There is a phenomenon. Now when it comes to blockchain, it seems that everything can be attached to it and can be used. Will this concept be abused? Isn't blockchain applicable at any level and field?

Rong Chunming: Yes, just like the Internet +. Although we say that the Internet has been around for 40 or 50 years, in fact, it has only begun to develop its business model in the last 20 years or so, not to say that everything is added to the Internet. It can be done. Some things we want to use blockchain +, but still can't achieve it. For example, for this lamp and this smart home, we hope that all the lights can be remotely controlled by my mobile phone, but not now.

At present, there is no unified standard for the blockchain. Various standards are being worked on, and no standard has actually passed. The absence of standards also means that it is difficult to achieve universal application of blockchain technology in the short term, which is an obstacle.

Now everyone is anxious to find a good entry point, but I think that not all scenarios need to use the blockchain. If you want to use it, you first need to see if your original system can use the block. chain.

Fourth, the blockchain is indeed facing the threat of quantum computing

 

Master of Science: You previously advocated that everyone should work together to create an open source blockchain platform system with independent intellectual property rights. How difficult is this?

Rong Chunming: First of all, it is more challenging to strengthen the technical capabilities of security management and response. For example, we have secure multi-party computing, or the so-called homomorphic encryption mechanism, but now we often see homomorphic encryption, only It can be so-called semi-homomorphic encryption, which is a long way from true full homomorphism. Our cryptographic mechanism is now being challenged.

In particular, it may face problems from quantum computing attacks. The best scientists in the world are studying the post-quantum cryptographic mechanism, otherwise the current set of things we rely on, including electronic signatures and hash functions, will face great challenges. Challenge. If quantum computing takes a big step forward, the corresponding blockchain technology system must also be upgraded, otherwise we can only continue to extend our key length, but doing so is only a temporary solution.

Many people think that the current blockchain technology is very secure and cannot be tampered with. I originally came from a cryptographic security background. I think quantum computing is very dangerous to cryptography. The electronic signatures and elliptic curve encryption we use now are suggested by the US National Security Agency five or six years ago. Don't use it. This is an open secret that everyone knows.

Let's not think that this thing is really immutable. All valid password designs are from 20 to 30 years, which means that after 20 or 30 years, this thing is dangerous. We need to find a good and strong key mechanism. Generally, at least we must guarantee a life cycle of 20-30 years. At the same time, we must estimate that during this period it is likely that the quantum will become very strong. We must estimate this. Because the system we make will not be changed by the day or two.

Master of Science: Can it be said that Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei was right? He said: Information security is relative, and blockchain is in front of quantum computers, not to mention.

Rong Chunming: I think there should be no problem now, but will the blockchain be vulnerable with the development of quantum technology? We say that security is a process, not a fixed, consistent system. The Data Encryption Standard (DES), which was invented in the 1960s and 1970s, can indeed be broken by seconds. As early as 10 or 20 years ago, it could be broken in a matter of minutes. Because of this, the technology must continue to grow.

But that's not to say we don't have the ability to design a good system. Because the technology is constantly developing, your anti-offensive technology must also continue to develop. Of course, the step of breaking in seconds I said above will not happen. After all, there are so many smart scientists and mathematicians in the world who will continuously improve it. In fact, there are many basic researches to be done later.

5. "In fact, what we should do is concentrate on scientific research"

 

Master of Science: According to your own experience, how do you think Chinese scholars are doing in the field of blockchain research?

Rong Chunming: I came back to communicate with my domestic counterparts. Seeing that they also have many large projects, the country is also building various laboratories. For example, there are laboratories at the provincial level. It seems that the country will also run them in the future. National laboratory. I heard my colleagues say that if the national laboratory is opened, these teachers can concentrate on scientific research instead of worrying about interference from other matters, such as applying for projects. I personally have similar experience. I feel that we spend a lot of time applying for projects and then writing reports, but it is difficult to focus on research. In fact, what we should do is scientific research, which is where we are.

Master of Science: China has also tried to downplay the weight of the paper in scientific research evaluation, and proposed to go to the "five facts."

Rong Chunming: It is not enough to just pursue the number of papers, because sometimes some very powerful scientists may suffice to publish a paper, because his research can change the world. If it is an EU project, their evaluation indicators will be more comprehensive. In addition to reading the article, you will also see if you have shared it with the community. Can you let more people know what you are doing, especially for our engineering application scientists? In terms of many engineering projects we have applied for, in addition to publishing articles, we have to find ways to tell everyone why this project is so important. It is important to communicate with the public, and more importantly, to see the final results of this comparative system. .

I know that the research environment in China is also changing, and my colleagues are saying that there seem to be various evaluation systems in China. For example, your system, your preset goal can be optimized by 10%, then you ca n’t just optimize it by 1 % Has finished the problem, it is to go in a more practical (actual effect) direction. this is correct.

My own scientific research experience is that the first research is not to write articles, or how to get things done. For such a goal, find a solution, not to complete a task of a KPI, even if it is completed. Often times things will be motivated.