Distributed ledgers have been around for over 2,000 years. The Roman Empire relied on them to support its advanced banking system from Syria to Scotland. But the way in which transactions are managed and controlled has now changed beyond all recognition, even to the most forward thinking Cives Romani.
Blockchain, a decentralised ‘digital ledger’, best known for its role in cryptocurrencies, is driving this change. The technology does away with the traditional model of using trusted third parties to oversee transactions. Instead it uses a peer-to-peer network of distributed computers to verify the process with a ‘block’ of data that also holds the answer to a complex mathematical problem that can only be solved by a powerful computer.
While Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies are the main uses for Blockchain, there are many other potential applications that can benefit from the security and transparency it offers. Cisco Systems and Bosch, for example, are exploring how Blockchain can be used for Internet of Things (IoT) applications to protect everyday objects, securely tracking how they are manufactured, moved or maintained.
Bosch is currently working with German certification authority TÜV Rheinland to put an end to odometer fraud in cars by creating a ‘digital logbook’. With the Blockchain system cars would routinely transmit their odometer readings to a network of computers, allowing buyers to see verified mileage, instead of relying solely on the in-vehicle display.
Research is also being done into how Blockchain could make the management and distribution of electronic medical records more secure. The developmental MedRec system, for example, is designed to give patients and doctors a comprehensive, real time view of medical records and also control who is allowed to view and change information. Everything is managed and tracked through a private Ethereum network.
Other potential applications for Blockchain include verified voting in elections, maintaining property records, and so-called smart contracts to provide automated accountability. The process of verifying and adding transactions to the Blockchain is commonly referred to as mining and requires a huge amount of processing power. The mathematical problems are immense and often benefit from the highly parallel architecture of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), better known as graphics cards.
At Fujitsu, our expert engineers have used their knowledge of high density computing to develop a workstation specifically designed for Blockchain mining on private or public networks. The CELSIUS R940power – Mining Edition can crunch through complex calculations thanks to seven powerful GPUs (five Nvidia Quadro P4000 (8GB) and two Nvidia Quadro P2000 (5GB), which have been manufactured specifically to handle extreme workloads.
And thanks to Nvidia’s highly efficient Pascal architecture and our expertise at cooling 675W of GPU hardware, that’s a phenomenal 32.5 TFLOPs of processing in a single desktop machine, which is something we are obviously very proud of.