Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Blockchain technology has been an emerging technology in recent years. Its nature of decentralization and anonymity enables many applications to be built in a trustless environment but can still be validated and agreed upon by all the participants. Ever since the invention of blockchain technology, its concepts and forms are explored extensively, and it has shown the potential to be used in many industries. However, the low efficiency and the poor performance have prevented the technology to be adopted in practical largescale usage. In this dissertation, we present three major works around blockchain technology. The first one is BPU, an FPGA-based accelerator, which is the first hardware approach in this area to address the blockchain processing performance issue. BPU exploits an in-order pipeline for instruction-level parallelism and other optimization at both the transaction level and data-flow level. Such achievements gain significant speedup against the original CPU implementation, which is shown by the evaluation. We then present SCU, an innovative heterogeneous RISC-based hardware architecture to further adopt modern CPU techniques in blockchain scalability issues. SCU introduces a unique RISC Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and implements a runtime interpreter to be compatible with any existing smart contracts. It further extends the pipeline to two types, namely, in-order and out-of-order, so that we can configure the accelerator in different heterogeneous manners. At last, we present GeauxTrace, which is a blockchain-based COVID contact tracing platform, to demonstrate the potential adoption of blockchain in the non-financial industry. GeauxTrace utilizes blockchain as a back-bone storage, collects contact logs genx erated by a Bluetooth detection protocol, and generates a global contact graph to help better control the disease. The adoption of blockchain and smart contracts strengthens the privacy and security of the whole system while does not hurt our connectivity and openness.
Lu, Tao, "Blockchain Accelerators and an Application on COVID-19 Contact Tracing" (2023). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 6104.
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