Turkish delight

My favourite subject while I was there was big data analytics. It was the most interesting and difficult three-hour class of the week. I liked the way my …

It was during my third semester that I came to know about the Semester Abroad Programme (SAP). With hard work and consistent good scores, I got the opportunity to be an Erasmus student and study in Istanbul at Yildiz Technical University for a semester — one of the top colleges in Turkey.

Paulo Coehlo says “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” and I agree. I once dreamt of it and it did become true, and my life was interesting and challenging there. I was always stunned by how everything worked in the college there. The systematic and organised way of processing things impressed me. There were days where I struggled in terms of food, study and understanding the language. But, without a downfall there is no fun in the hunt for achieving the best. Luckily, the subjects that I studied were of my interest and I am very grateful that I had the guidance of great professors. The day I came back to Chennai, the reality hit me hard. All I said is “I just woke up from a fantastic dream”.

Academics

My favourite subject while I was there was big data analytics. It was the most interesting and difficult three-hour class of the week. I liked the way my professor taught the class, he made sure that we all understood it very well by repeating the algorithm explanation in Turkish and in English.

If you love to learn and grow, I recommend you to go for such a programme and experience it. It is a great opportunity for students who plan to do higher studies abroad, they get to experience the study and the test their skills in advance for a semester.

Istanbul is a beautiful place. I was mesmerised by the creative landscaping everywhere in the city. It is a green and clean city. I am grateful to Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science for letting me study and experiencing the culture in a university abroad.

Madhura Joshi is currently pursuing B.Tech CSE at Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science.

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Ethereum Classic “Atlantis” upgrade makes ETC more like ETH

Ethereum hard forked today. No, not that Ethereum–the other one, Ethereum Classic. With the Ethereum core devs still ironing out details for this fall’s …

Ethereum hard forked today. No, not that Ethereum–the other one, Ethereum Classic.

With the Ethereum core devs stillironing out details for this fall’s Istanbul hard fork and taking another step toward Ethereum 2.0, Ethereum Classic is looking to be more like Ethereum 1.0. The man taking them there, Parity Technologies’ Afri Schoedon, confirmed the protocol upgrade, titled “Atlantis,”via tweet this morning.

A quick rundown of the history: In 2016, a smart contract on the Ethereum network was exploited to steal a lot of ETH. Most in the community were in favor of intervening to make it like the hack never happened; others pointed to immutability being a feature, not a bug, of the network.

The resulting DAO Fork produced a new network, Ethereum Classic, in which the funds remained stolen. Or, from another viewpoint, it created a new network that kept the Ethereum name but not the promise of immutability.

Since then, the main Ethereum network has undergonefour major upgrades: Tangerine Whistle, Spurious Dragon, Byzantium, and Constantinople. (Istanbul is next.)

Today’s ETC upgrade incorporates features that the ETH network implemented in Spurious Dragon and Byzantium. In other words, ETC now looks more like previous versions of ETH. That makes it easier and cheaper for developers to build decentralized apps that work on both networks.

Anthony Lusardi, a smart-contract developer, told Decrypt there’s “no real reason to dislike” the increased interoperability. Bob Summerwill, the executive director of the nonprofit ETC Cooperative, concurred. “It makes sense for ETC and ETH to collaborate at the moment, because ETH1 and ETC technical challenges are identical, though philosophies differ,” he told Decrypt.

Philosophies, indeed. Said Summerwill: “The ETC community sees the best path to scalability as Layer 2 on top of a [proof-of-work] Layer 1.” ETH core devs, meanwhile, are eyeing ETH 2.0, orSerenity. Proposed future upgrades would use sharding, rather than a second layer, to scale and move the network from its current proof-of-work system, which Bitcoin and other networks use, to proof of stake.

Yet beyond talk of the technical, the publicity for the ETC network upgrade has brought some simmering tensions bubbling to the surface. On September 10, Summerville posited in aninterview with KryptoJoe that “for many developers it’s like in their heart they would like the Classic to win, but basically, they are mainly Ethereum-technology people.” Ethereum core developer Péter Szilágyicalled BS.

The conflict spawned a “megathread,” in Summerwill’s words, between him, Szilágyi, and Lusardi that ended in at least one person being blocked. In the thread, Szilágyi posted:

“Why is it that everyone wants ETH to collaborate? ETC has been alive for 3 years, took everything we did, gave nothing back, but somehow we are expected to ‘collaborate.'” (Szilágyi did not respond to an email request for comment.)

Summerwill and others in the ETC community are undeterred. They’ll converge October 3 to 4 for the ETC Summit to discuss next steps. ETC core developers anticipate two future upgrades, Agharta and Atzlán, to take place in late 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Those upgrades will consider changes from the Ethereum network’s Constantinople and Istanbul forks. “The roadmap for ETC,” Summerwill says, “is towards convergence with ETH1.”

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Ethereum Devs Push Back Testnet Istanbul Hard Fork As ETH Flags

While the new EIPs vary, creator of the blockchain, Vitalik Buterin, recently argued that there should potentially be an EIP outlining an increase of …

Ethereum Istanbul Pushed

Sorry Ethereum fans, Istanbul hasn’t happened yet. The upgrade (or at least the testnet iteration), which is expected to bring the popular blockchain a number of improvements and changes, was recently pushed back by the core developer team.

According to CoinDesk, Hudson Jameson, a community manager at the Ethereum Foundation, told developers in a call on Friday that Istanbul’s testnet activation date will be pushed to October 2nd from the original tentative September 4th date. He elaborated on the specifics of the new target date:

“For anyone listening in who doesn’t know how this works, we pick a block number that we estimate to be around the 2nd of October… However, that might be one or two days behind or forward from that date based on how fast blocks are produced between now and then.”

According to the developers, the later date is due to an influx of Ethereum Improvement Protocols submitted for review for the upgrade. While the new EIPs vary, creator of the blockchain, Vitalik Buterin, recently argued that there should potentially be an EIP outlining an increase of Ethereum’s gas limit, specifically to address the potential clogging that the network has been and might see due to the propagation of an ERC-20 token version of Tether’s USDT.

In a thread discussing the effect of Tether’s USDT on Ethereum, Buterin explained that the community should commence a social media campaign on Twitter and Reddit to promote this. Should the gas limit increase be implemented, it would help to reduce stress on the blockchain.

What Is Istanbul?

Istanbul is expected to bring a number of important improvements for the Ethereum blockchain. For instance, the updates will allow the network to interact with privacy-focused blockchain ZCash, which many say is important for a network that is currently quite open. With Ethereum clearly catering to decentralized finance applications, the ability and potential to improve on-chain privacy is likely a tantalizing offer.

That’s not all, Istanbul may also provide protection against replay attacks, in addition to enhancing the overall efficiency of the ETH blockchain.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

‘Great Dictator’ Not Involved in Approving EIPs for Ethereum’s Istanbul Hard Fork

Recently, Ethereum’s core developers finalized the list of code changes for the Istanbul hard fork. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says that “this …

Recently, Ethereum’s core developers finalized the list of code changes for the Istanbul hard fork. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says that “this happened with *zero* involvement from The Great Dictator™.”

Vitalik made this comment on Twitter in relation to an article about the confirmation of code changes in Istanbul, Ethereum’s next major system-wide upgrade:

Reminder that this happened with *zero* involvement from The Great Dictator™

Much-needed gas repricings that add significant sustainability gains and open the door to ZKP/rollup L2 innovation.

Great work @peter_szilagyi and cohttps://t.co/I2ZKnwHVd9

— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) August 20, 2019

To understand why Vitalik is sarcastically referring to himself as “The Great Dictator”, we need to remember that he has often been accused by critics of Ethereum of being “in charge” of Ethereum’s development, thereby making the project far less decentralized than it might at first appear.

Perhaps, the best example of this type of attack came on 8 October 2018 when economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini referred to Vitalik as a “dictator for life” in the following tweet:

Decentralization in crypto is a myth. It is a system more centralized than North Korea: miners are centralized, exchanges are centralized, developers are centralized dictators (Buterin is “dictator for life” ) & the Gini inequality coefficient of bitcoin is worse than North Korea

— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) October 8, 2018

A few days earlier, someone had asked Vitalik this question on Twitter: “@VitalklButerin any thoughts on how you will eventually detach yourself from the project?”

This is how Vitalik replied on 5 October 2018:

  • “Already in progress; watch the repos, even much of the research is being done [email protected], @drakefjustin, @icebearhww and others.”
  • “I think ethereum can absolutely survive me spontaneously combusting tomorrow at this point.”
  • “To be clear, ‘detaching”‘ meant detaching from *needing* to participate. No actual plans to disappear any time soon.”

And true to his word, possibly to avoid giving ammunition to critics of Ethereum’s governance process, Vitalik has, in the past couple of years, been mostly focusing on the research for Ethereum 2.0 (“Serenity”), which will introduce “Sharding, Proof of Stake, a new virtual machine (eWASM) and more.”

Péter Szilágyi, the core developer who is the team leader at Ethereum Foundation, had this to say about Vitalik having had zero involvement with the decisions concerning which EIPs (Ethereum Improvement Proposals) should be included in Istanbul:

I’d like to remind everyone, that “zero involvement from The Great Dictator” is not a feature. V has a brilliant mind and I’d much rather have him pinch in on ideas than keep him away due to politics. Just my 2c. https://t.co/CwBt5s9uim

— Péter Szilágyi (@peter_szilagyi) August 21, 2019

As for the Istanbul hard fork itself, according to a report by Coindesk, Ethereum’s core developers finalized the list of EIPs at a meeting held on August 15.

As per previous meetings of the group, which comprises a diverse set of Ethereum stakeholders, the plan is for Istanbul to be executed in two phases:

  • phase 1:  this consists of six EIPs; estimated to go live on the Ethereum mainnet in October;
  • phase 2: this consists of those EIPs, such as the proposal to make Ethereum more ASIC-resistant by moving to a Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPOW) consensus algorithm, that need “further testing and deliberation from core developers.”

At the August 15th meeting, Szilágyi said that activation of Istanbul phase one on Ethereum testnet Ropsten, which some people wanted to happen on September 4, may need to be moved further out in the future to give the teams working on Ethereum clients (such as Parity) sufficient time to test their implementation of the agreed six EIPs before the these changes are rolled out to the testnet.

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Vitalik Buterin absent from Ethereum’s next upgrade

The co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, was notably absent from its development. “This happened with zero involvement from The Great Dictator,” …

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The first part of Ethereum’s next update, codenamed Istanbul, is getting ready to launch on October 16. Ethereum developers finalized the approved updates on Github two days ago, greenlighting six changes to its code. The mainnet upgrade promises to make the network more efficient, among other things.

But this time, one thing was missing. The co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, was notably absent from its development.

“This happened with zero involvement from The Great Dictator,” Buterin tweeted today, sardonically acknowledging the criticism he has received over his previous levels of involvement in Ethereum’s development. The comment also nods to complaints that his involvement makes Ethereum centralized—as he tweeted back in November 2018.

™™

View photos

Since then, he has distanced himself from the project as it gears up towards Ethereum 2.0. Buterin has pointed out that much of the research for Ethereum is being done by others, including Danny Ryan, Justin Drake, and Hsiao-Wei Wang. Istanbul’s development was lead by Péter Szilágyi and his team.

Decrypt Guide: The future of Ethereum

But some in the Ethereum community felt Buterin’s absence was a drawback. Szilágyi said that his absence is not a feature. “[Buterin] has a brilliant mind and I’d much rather have him pinch [sic] in on ideas than keep him away due to politics,” he tweeted.

But Buterin isn’t going anywhere. As he clarified last October, “‘detaching’ meant detaching from needing to participate,” not withdrawing completely. He later said he had no plans to stop posting blog posts or proposing code changes to the Ethereum blockchain in Github, where the open-source code is stored.

Istanbul’s second update, to be released sometime early next year, will contain another bout of changes. The proposed updates include the divisive ProgPoW, also known as Programmatic Proof-of-Work, an algorithm designed to reduce the advantages specialized mining software has over regular hardware in order make mining more accessible.

But the proposal is still being debated, showing the hallmarks of a system where nobody is truly in charge. Ethereum might not be perfectly decentralized but it’s on the right track.

Update [August 21, 16:12 UTC] This article was amended to correct ProgPoW from Progressive to Programmatic Proof-of-Work.

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