BIL Lab Week 6

This was a bad week. Lack of concentraction. Lack of focus. I really struggled.

I think I was still feeling the effects of a long weekend. I went back home, went out wth my friends then moved all my stuff up to Edinburgh. I took the Monday off to sort out my room and travel to IKEA. Me and my parents also had a lovely walk down by the waters of Leith and went to the jazz bar.

So I worked from Tuesday to Friday, with Thursday mostly off for Scotchain, the biggest blockchain conference in Scotland.

The plan was read up on the work of Jan Camenisch. Which I did, I read a couple of his papers. This one on CL Signatures, and this one on Anonymous Credentials. Both were interesting, CL signatures tie into Verifiable Credentials because they are a way you can sign all the individual claims in a credential with one signature. Then when presenting your claim you can prove an individual claim was part of that signature hence the claim is valid. The Anonymous Credentials paper was also interesting, analysing the security of such a system and showing how it can be anonymous.

I got the basic concepts and ideas in both papers however I struggled with the cryptographic proofs that were outlined. Towards the end of these papers were full of them. They left me pretty demoralised. I felt like I was learning nothing.

I came to the realisation that I need to go back to basics. I need to understand exactly how a crytographic proof constructed as well as the language used. In order to do this I have enrolled in Dan Boneh’s Stanford online cryptography course. This looks promising and I will be working through it over the next 10 weeks. Hopefully it will help me develop a more solid foundation for me to understand these papers with.

This week I also attempted to write some thoughts on Verifiable Credentials, and while I have a basic outline I really struggled to get anything solid down. I know I know it, but putting into coherent words proved harder than I imagined.

It was a bad week like I said.

Then there was Scotchain. Which, while intersting I have to say I wasn’t feeling it and didn’t make the most of the networking opportunites available. I should have used it as the perfect opportunity to publicise MyData.

Some positives though: I went to yoga for the first time, hopefully this will become a weekly thing. It is only two doors down after all. I got invited to apply to a W3C workshop on Strong Authentication and Identity. While the application is a little daunting, it asks you to submit a presentation idea, it would be an amazing experience if I got accepted to attend.

I had a better weekend, achieving a lot of the things I set out to do so now I am ready for the next week. I put up my ikea shelf (nightmare), baked a banana bread and went shopping.

I reflected on my week and have realised a couple of important things. Over the last two weeks I have stopped coding. Coding is understanding and I have been really struggling with the understanding part recently. I must get back to writing Rust.

Furthermore, I haven’t been reading as much as I would like. I don’t mean papers, but books. Preferably non fiction. In future, if I need a break I plan to read. Ideally non-fiction relevant to my PhD but not essentially.

This coming week I have a number of focusses. I will continue with the Dan Boneh course. I continue learning Corda, a blockchain like system that banks are keen on, in preparation for the developer exam we are taking. I aim to have written a presentation/article on Verifiable Credentials.

I am sure I will have a better week this time round!


Thanks for reading

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email.