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 324: Discovering New Elliptic Curves with Antonio Sanso and Youssef El Housni

This week, Anna and Nico catch up with Antonio Sanso, Researcher at the Ethereum Foundation and Youssef El Housni, Engineer at ConsenSys and builder of Linea.

They discuss Antonio and Youssef’s new work, Families of prime-order endomorphism-equipped embedded curves on pairing-friendly curves, and dive into Elliptic Curve cryptography, Bandersnatch and Verkle Tries amongst much more, before dissecting what terms in the title of this paper truly mean. After getting into the weeds of cryptographic technicalities, the group explores where this work could be used and what it would enable.

Episode 323: The Role of Reth with Georgios

This week, Anna and Tarun catch up with Georgios Konstantopoulos, CTO of Paradigm and long-standing friend of the ZK Pod!

First they cover the work Georgios has been doing since he last appeared on the show, covering everything from updates on Foundry to the more recent work on Reth. They then dig into what makes it different, what inspires its design, where it is heading and the eventual end goals of the project. They also chat about the general client node landscape, from the ETH 2.0 research days to present day, before diving into discussing different clients from different teams, how this diversity can protect a chain and how each client can differ.

Episode 322: Definitions, Security and Sumcheck in ZK Systems with Justin Thaler

In this week’s episode, Anna and Guillermo catch up with Justin Thaler, Associate Professor at Georgetown and Research Partner at a16z.

The group dive into a handful of points from Justin’s ‘17 Misconceptions about SNARKs’ article, discussing if his views have changed since it was published back in 2023 and whether some points have become common knowledge since the article first rippled through the ZK community. They then dive into his new zkVM Jolt, which was initially described along with Lasso in 2023, but has now been implemented and is open to contributions from the community.

Episode 321: STIR with Gal Arnon & Giacomo Fenzi

In this week’s episode, Anna and Kobi chat with Gal Arnon, Ph.D student from the Weizmann Institute of Science & Giacomo Fenzi, Ph.D. student in the COMPSEC Lab at EPFL.

Gal and Giacomo are amongst the co-authors of ‘STIR: Reed–Solomon Proximity Testing with Fewer Queries’ and in this conversation, they discuss how their research led them to work on these topics and where the thesis for this particular work sparked from. They set the stage by exploring the history of FRI and discussing some hidden nuances in how FRI works. And then they introduce STIR, a system that can be used in place of FRI, which incorporates various optimisations to improve the performance.

Episode 320: A Deep Dive into Shared Sequencers with Espresso’s Ben Fisch

In this week’s episode, Anna and Brendan Farmer catch up with Ben Fisch, CEO of Espresso Systems. They explore the inner workings of the current L2 sequencing landscape and then discuss how a shared sequencing marketplace like Espresso works. They touch on how MEV plays a part in the new system, how the role of the sequencer can be separated into subroles, how all these parts will work together in such a system and much more.

Episode 319: The Past & Present of the L2 Landscape with Jordi Baylina

In this week’s episode, Anna catches up with Jordi Baylina, OG Ethereum contributor and Polygon zkEVM Technical Lead. They cover what Jordi has been working on since he was last on the show in 2021. Back then, zkEVMs were still just an idea. Now that many of these systems have launched, they have a chance to look at how these fit into the general L2 landscape.

They cover Jordi’s view on engineering decentralized systems and how these are rolled out, and the recent research from Polygon, including their AggLayer proposal. They wrap up on what inspires him to keep contributing in the space.

Episode 318: Threshold Signature Schemes & FROST with Chelsea Komlo

In this week’s episode, Anna and Nico chat with Chelsea Komlo, Chief Scientist for the Zcash Foundation and member of the Cryptography, Security, and Privacy lab at the University of Waterloo.

They discuss what sparked Chelsea’s interest in cryptography research, starting with her work contributing to Tor, to her move to Zcash and her PhD work on Threshold Signature Schemes. They define some important terms around different signature schemes and discuss possible optimizations that can be used to make these more performant. They then dive into her work on the FROST Threshold Signature Scheme plus some new upcoming work.

Zk white

Subscribe

Subscribe to Zero Knowledge podcast on these links:

Join the conversation:

Newsletters:

Support: