University of Surrey Wins Funding to Test the Blockchain

The University of Surrey has won three bids to test the blockchain in initiatives focusing on voting, digital archives and healthcare.

The reward, which amounted to £1.1 million, came from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The healthcare project 'Co-operative Models for Evidence-based Healthcare Redistribution (CoMEHeRe) will begin on 26 June and will run for 18 months. According to the University, it aims to improve on a person's healthcare through the management of biometric information. This will be made possible through wearable devices. The blockchain will be employed to collect data from the wearable devices while machine learning will ensure that data is accessed and shared with private healthcare providers.

'Trusted and Transparent Voting Systems,' will be the second project and is expected to begin at the start of June, lasting for a period of two years. Teaming up with the King's College London, the two will work together as they develop an electronic voting system that is trustworthy and effective.

The third and final project, 'ARCHANGEL – Trusted Archives of Digital Public Records,' is currently underway. In collaboration with the U.K.'s National Archives and Tim Berners-Lee's Open Data Institute, the intention is to create new technology with the aim of developing digital archives that are sustainable.

Blockchain's Development in Healthcare

With the increased development of Bitcoin's distributed ledger, more industries are turning their attention to the blockchain.

With many claiming that the DLT has more potential than that of its digital currency, it's only natural that establishments are keen to find out how it can improve the services they offer.

Earlier this year, Deepmind Health, Google's artificial intelligence (AI) firm, announced that it had launched a blockchain-based project by working on a data audit trail designed to allow hospital technicians to predict, diagnose and prevent illnesses.

However, unlike the blockchain, DeepMind is presenting a differ ledger. As hospitals are considered a trusted establishment, it's not necessary for them to carry out complex calculations in order to verify the information they receive. By changing the chain part of the blockchain and utilizing a tree-like structure instead, DeepMind are able to produce an effect much the same as the blockchain with similar properties to it. These include not being able to erase records while giving access to third parties to see if there has been any interference with the data.

The healthcare is keen to adopt the blockchain or replicate many of its components into the services it provides, which are intended to help improve the sector, updating the processes it currently undertakes.

Featured image from Wikimedia.

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Rebecca Campbell
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