Dennis Jacobs: Professor Steve Deng is the chief AI scientist from MATRIX. Steve is also an associate of Tsinghua University — one of China’s best universities — and he is an expert in machine learning and computer architecture. Steve. Please give us a quick introduction.
Steve Deng: I am an associate professor at Tsinghua University. I got my Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in engineering. My research focuses on machine learning and computer architecture; basically, we design machine algorithms that include neural networks. We focus on industry data analytics and are building architecture to learn and think like people.
Dennis Jacobs: What was your first involvement in the blockchain sector?
Steve Deng: Actually, I got involved in the blockchain sector last year. My friend Bill Li — who is the Chief Network Architect at the MATRIX project — explained the blockchain to me. He told me that blockchain technology has a huge future but is hindered by many challenges. He summarised them as four main problems.
Dennis Jacobs: What are the four problems?
Steve Deng: First, the long transaction times. Second, issues surrounding smart contract creation. Third, the security of smart contracts. And the fourth problem — which is probably the biggest one — the wasted energy from the mining process.
Dennis Jacobs: When did MATRIX get started? What is the story behind it? You had these problems and you wanted to solve it through MATRIX?
Steve Deng: Bill had the solutions to the first two problems but he asked me if I had some ideas for the remaining two. I spent probably two weeks thinking about everything. Finally, I told him that I had a solution for the remaining two problems and with AI (artificial intelligence) we can probably solve the first two problems better too. So, we came up with the idea of building a new blockchain which is the MATRIX chain. To solve the power problem, we used AI and digital integrated circuits to rebuild the whole foundation of the blockchain. Now, we can make it faster, easier and more secure.
Dennis Jacobs: You have a different way to show the proof of work but what is the MATRIX technology behind it? Can you elaborate on that?
Steve Deng: First, it decreases the transaction time: because the blockchain is a P2P network, you need a majority of the network nodes to verify your transaction before it’s finalized and the more nodes you have on your network, the longer the delay. To reduce the delay, we have to reduce the number of nodes involved in the proof of work, so, for our blockchain, we created a random voting process using an AI-based algorithm. We can still have millions of network nodes but only approximately twenty nodes are used in the proof of work interpretation and the selection is completely random. Using this system ensures that any delay is greatly reduced and the whole process runs smoothly.
Dennis Jacobs: So you have fewer nodes but is there’s no danger of it becoming more centralized, with people coming together and bundling their nodes, because it’s too difficult to predict?
Steve Deng: Exactly! The whole selection process is stochastic. No single node is guaranteed to be selected again and again and every node has to pass to get selected. During our experiments, we built some linking networks and the node with the largest computing power only had a 5 percent chance of getting selected again. So the process is fair.
Dennis Jacobs: Can you share a little more about your flexible blockchain and what a ‘unique mining process’ means?
Steve Deng: Basically, we randomly select the delegate nodes, then, for these nodes we use a different kind of mining algorithm which is an interpretation of the so-called MCMC [Markov Chain Monte Carlo] algorithm.
Dennis Jacobs: It looks like a different algorithm.
Steve Deng: It sure is a difficult algorithm and it’s very useful. It’s one of the most important algorithms in the 20th century! It has many uses and many applications in big data. But our algorithm is unique in the sense that it solves the ‘hash’ itself. The second unique thing is it can now predict results from the beginning. It’s a mighty algorithm that actually utilizes many different algorithms. And because of the random node, it checks the proof of work and can assign the workload to its builders so that every builder can share the benefit of mining.
Dennis Jacobs: You’ve already had a successful ICO that raised around 16 million dollars [USD]. Why have you planned a second ICO for 2019?
Steve Deng: The first ICO was to get support for the development of the blockchain itself and all the products, techniques, and the smart contracts that go with it. In 2019 we will go ahead with our mining ASIC’s [‘Application-Specific Integrated Circuit’ — a microchip designed for a special application]. We will need funding for this so we need another ICO. As mentioned, we have our own mining algorithm and new hardware for the mining process. The cost is huge. It’s just huge.
Dennis Jacobs: What is the function of the MATRIX [MAN] token? As an investor, this is what I always look into. I ask myself ‘what does this token actually do?’
Steve Deng: It is similar to ETH [Ethereum] in a lot of ways. We want companies and individuals to make a lot of applications on our MATRIX blockchain. The users of those applications will pay, using our MAN tokens.
Dennis Jacobs: Can Steve expand on MATRIX AI being a faster blockchain network with one million transactions per second?
Steve Deng: As I mentioned earlier, we use a random selection process. So, in the top tier we only have approximately 20 nodes and the network delay can be minimized. Our ultimate goal is one million transactions per second. Currently, we can process ten thousand transactions per second and by September 30 we will have our blockchain published and will achieve the speed of one hundred thousand transactions per second.
Dennis Jacobs: Have you received any interesting D-apps to run on the MATRIX blockchain?
Steve Deng: Because the algorithms are mainly AI-based, we are actually developing applications ourselves, at present. The mining process is useful and meaningful and we can use this application for anything as long as it’s based on Beta algorithms. We are currently developing algorithms like Maritime Image processing and financial bulking processes.
Dennis Jacobs: So, basically decentralized apps can be built on your platform by external developers, not just in-house by you, everyone can plug and play. Is that right?
Steve Deng: Yes, Exactly!
Dennis Jacobs: Can you explain how the MATRIX blockchain has real-world applications, like in a hospital, for example?
Steve Deng: First, there is the traditional application for blockchain technology: the fact that records are unalterable will lead to a convenient way to store data that will result in much fewer instances of human error. A way that is unique to MATRIX is that we can use our blockchain to provide AI services to these hospitals. So, you could have different medical images like x-rays, ct images and many other images. With our technology, we can provide applications such as medical image processing and diagnosis from those x-ray images. We can create converting techniques to help cure these patients. Whether it’s a tumor or a fracture, our AI tech will be able to help with the diagnosis and treatment.
Dennis Jacobs: So, what makes you different from the AI related blockchain ‘Neurochain’? Where are your projects similar and where are they different?
Steve Deng: Actually, I just browsed the Neurochain whitepaper and it’s quite interesting technology. Neurochain are trying to create a blockchain with an AI based consensus. They have given the blocks to the nodes and use AI to come up with the consensus. Based on this consensus, the parameters of the whole chain can be optimized. But our overall goals are a lot bigger than this: we are creating our own blockchain and want to create an entire platform that utilizes AI to generate smart contracts.
Dennis Jacobs: What’s your relationship with ‘Belt On One Road’? Is it a personal involvement on your side or is the company involved?
Steve Deng: The company is involved. OBOR is involved with many countries in Western Asia and Eastern Europe. China wants to establish business in these countries but they have a lot of different cultures. Everything is different! So, we need ways to maintain credibility during our business activities. That’s why we use blockchain and currently there are not many blockchain service providers for this.
Dennis Jacobs: Is the MATRIX AI Network connected to a simulated reality? Will it evolve within reality?
Steve Deng: That’s a beautiful question! I like this question! Actually, we do not have a plan for this, companywide. But, personally, from myself, I am very interested in this problem. I want my blockchain to simulate growing human beings and after we could simulate something like a human figure. So, hopefully, I can really focus on this project in a couple of years after building up our whole infrastructure.
Dennis Jacobs: Any final thoughts for the audience that you want to share on behalf of MATRIX?
Steve Deng: We know that MATRIX is a very ambitious project but we believe that we can make it and we will make it! Thank you!