As per an official statement issued on 6th March, the Ethereum Foundation has decided to fund the work of Yale and Columbia University researchers. The research work revolves around developing the latest programming language within the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) for smart contracts, as per the reports.
The project that has successfully received the funding is called ‘DeepSea’ and it is being led by Ronghui Gu in association with the Yale researchers’ team. In addition to working at Columbia as the Computer Science assistant professor, Ronghui has also co-founded CertiK, a blockchain-based security firm.
DeepSea derives its name from the latest programming language for smart contracts which was originally developed at Professor Shao’s research lab. Shao is CertiK’s co-founder as well as the Computer Science department chairperson at Yale University. Earlier CertiK had made a buzz by being a member of the project which had successfully raised a few million in Binance Labs’ funding round in October 2018.
The press release also reveals that there were major risks associated with the existent vulnerabilities in the smart contracts which eventually fuelled the extension to the “protective features” of DeepSea. It was also learned that originally the programming language was just designed for system software implementation.
In his statement, Professor Ronghui was quoted as saying, “As smart contracts are permanent and self-executable, it’s crucial that they perform only as they are precisely intended.” He further stated that the DeepSea would let programmers add additional safeguards to make sure that their code conforms exactly to its specifications, utilizing Formal Verification.
The Formal Verification process pertains to the procedure of optimally using the mathematical proofs for verifying the code implementation accuracy. Initially, the NASA Mars Rover, as well as other mission-critical hardware systems, had supposedly executed the process. Now apparently, this process is being advanced for utilization in the software systems. It can be utilized for preventing potential bugs during the compilation of DeepSea into EVM.
It is not the first time that the Ethereum Foundation has awarded such a grant; in fact, it is the 5th one. The Foundation, under its Grants Program, is known for extending support to projects that involve Ethereum 2.0 and Layer 2 scaling endeavors.