IBM files patent for research focused blockchain

By Folake Dosu  |  November 15, 2018

blockchain-ibm-research-patent

Verifiable data is critical for sound scientific research. CCN reports that IBM filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a blockchain-powered system that provides much-needed transparency to the research community.

Described in the patent as a “system that integrates the trustworthiness of the blockchain concept with open scientific research by generating a blockchain of the experiments formed, data collected, analyses performed,” IBM hopes to leverage the technology’s immutability and data security to fend off recurring concerns of untrustworthy data.

“Currently, there are limited platforms that allow for sharing information about scientific research and showing transparent data collection and analysis steps. Platforms that do exist, lack the requisite controls and mechanisms to allow for trustworthy data, as there are few options for ensuring that data will be resistant to modification.”

CCN notes that IBM is not the first mover on applying blockchain to this field, but the patent describes previous blockchain solutions as lacking:

“Currently, there are limited platforms that allow for sharing information about scientific research and showing transparent data collection and analysis steps. Platforms that do exist, lack the requisite controls and mechanisms to allow for trustworthy data, as there are few options for ensuring that data will be resistant to modification.”

CCN describes IBM’s blockchain system as reliant but “not limited to a cloud computing model in which data uploaded to public databases can be tracked.” 

IBM explains in their filing how research projects would be translated into blocks as part of a blockchain:

“In an example, the blockchain system can form a blockchain representing a research project, wherein the blockchain comprises a first block of research data and a second block of analysis data representing a log of an analysis performed on the research data.

"Summary blocks and correction blocks can also be added to the blockchain representing the post analysis of the research results. One or more of the subsequent blocks can be linked to the preceding blocks using information in block headers that can also serve to determine whether modifications to the blocks have been performed.”

With this filing, IBM believes researchers will have the opportunity to conduct experiments with more confidence in the quality and relevance of their data due to advanced security offered through the distributed ledger technology, CCN observes.
 

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