Episode 136: Math competitions, crypto as alchemy & Gasper with Yan Zhang

This week, Anna and guest host Tarun Chitra chat with Yan X Zhang, professor at SJSU, about math competitions, math education, how crypto is like alchemy and the Gasper paper – work Yan and his students collaborated on with the Ethereum Foundation.

“Gasper” is a proof-of-stake-based consensus protocol, which is an idealized version of the proposed Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain. The protocol combines Casper FFG, a finality tool, with LMD GHOST, a fork-choice rule.

Here are a few episodes and papers that we mention:
Consensus Algorithms & HotStuff with Ittai Abraham
Combining GHOST and Casper
Ali Rahimi – NIPS 2017 Test-of-Time Award presentation


As mentioned in the intro, we looking for some help on the organisational front with some of the zk related projects – this Zero Knowledge Podcast, zkStudyClub, zkSummit and the zkValidator.

If you are looking to connect with the ecosystem, learn more and work on zk research AND if you are very organised and have worked producing either events, content or generally organising people in the past, these roles might be interesting for you.

Here are the 2 roles:
1) zkPodcast Support: Work with Anna & Fredrik on our zk-related projects (excluding the zkValidator) on a part-time basis. This would primarily involve coordinating podcast guest, scheduling and coordinating studyclub sessions, help organise events like the zkSummit, writing blog posts and managing social channels. This would be 5-8 hours per week to start, and could be a student job.
If this is interesting, please email a brief CV (a short email describing your experience is also fine) to hello@zeroknowledge.fm or tweet at Anna -> @AnnaRRose

2) Project Manager at the zkValidator. In this role, you would be working with Anna and Will Harborne to connect with members of the networks the zkValidator operates on – that is Cosmos, Kusama, Polkadot and more as we add them. The role would entail writing reports, doing research, managing network partners, scheduling workshops, working with zk engineers and cryptographers and more. This would be 15 hours per week to start, and we are looking for someone with at least 3 years of work experience. If this is interesting, please send us a summarised CV and/or LinkedIn profile to hello@zkValidator.com


If you like what we do:
Follow us on Twitter – @zeroknowledgefm
Join us on Telegram
Give us feedback! https://forms.gle/iKMSrVtcAn6BByH6A
Support our Gitcoin Grant
Support us on the ZKPatreon

Or directly here:
ETH: 0xC0FFEE1B5083230a5154F55f253B6b6ae8F29B1a
BTC: 1cafekGa3podM4fBxPSQc6RCEXQNTK8Zz
ZEC: t1R2bujRF3Hzte9ALHpMJvY8t5kb9ut9SpQ

Previous Episodes

Episode 214: Emin Gün Sirer on Avalanche and its Formation

This week Anna chats with Emin Gün Sirer – CEO Ava Labs and Founder of Avalanche. They chat about the experiences that led him to become interested in distributed systems research and his work as a professor at Cornell that led to the development of Avalanche. They then dig into their novel consensus mechanism which uses the sub-sampling technique, the architecture of the network with the 3 distinct components: X-Chain, C-Chain and P-Chain, bridges and more.

Episode 213: zk-SNARKs meets Optimistic Rollup with Zkopru

This week Anna chats with Wanseob an Applied ZKP Developer in the Privacy & Scaling Exploration Team at the Ethereum Foundation and one of the authors of the Zkopru protocol. They explore how Zkopru uses optimistic rollups and zero knowledge proofs to create a privacy-focused Layer 2. Wanseob walks us through the transaction process and how the protocol is built to circumvent high gas fees. We also hear a little about what’s to come in the Zkopru ecosystem from merchandising to private exchange of NFTs.

Episode 212: 2021 < 2022 with Co-hosts & Friends

This week, Anna checks in with co-hosts & friends, Tarun Chitra, James Prestwich, Josh Cincinnati and Guillermo Angeris, for a retrospective look at 2021 and a look forward to 2022. Enjoy this conversation full of blasphemous hot takes, bad 2022 predictions and dad jokes.

Bonus ZK Hack Wrap with Kobi!

While we decided not to release a full episode this week, Anna did get a chance to catch up with Kobi Gurkan, one of the co-organizers of ZK Hack and someone who was very missed in the last episode about the event!

Episode 211: It’s a wrap! ZK Hack Takeaways & What’s Next!

This week, Anna hosts a special 5-part interview with a roundup of perspectives from ZK Hack. First, she chats with puzzle hackers who share what it was like to solve these real-world cryptography bugs and learn complex concepts in real time. They discuss how they got started learning in this space and the resources and tools that helped them. Next, Anna speaks with the puzzle builders on the challenges of designing and building these novel zk puzzles. They discuss the state of the community and how the community could work together to create learning resources to enable its growth. Last but not least, there is a chat with part of the ZK Hack organizing team on what they thought of the event and what’s to come next!

Episode 210: The Road to STARKs and Miden with Bobbin Threadbare

This week, Anna chats with Bobbin Threadbare about his project Miden, a STARK-based roll-up which was recently purchased by Polygon. We recap the differences between STARKs and SNARKs and the increasingly blurred line between these two proving systems. We then map Bobbin’s journey to Miden VM (now Polygon Miden), how it originated from his earlier project Distaff VM and now incorporates the Winterfell prover from his days at Facebook.

Episode 209: Liquid Staking with Lido and Chorus One

This week Anna and Tarun chat with Vasiliy Shapovalov from Lido and Felix Lutsch of Chorus One about liquid staking on the ETH2 Proof of Stake consensus chain. Vasiliy explains Ethereum’s unique PoS validator setup and how liquid staking behaves on this network. They also talk about how liquid staking behaves on other live PoS, the inevitability of liquid staking and how to best design these systems. Lastly, they chat about navigating control and decision making in liquid staking protocols, touching on topics of decentralisation and governance.

Episode 208: Digging into Data Availability with Ismail Khoffi from Celestia

This week Anna chats with Ismail Khoffi from Celestia about how and why they’re focusing on building a data availability-first L1 blockchain. Ismail takes us through how data availability can be a problem, primarily with light clients and breaks down the components necessary to understanding the data availability problem such as state changes, the separation of consensus from execution and how Celestia aims to be a pluggable consensus layer.

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