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Hong Kong Polytechnic University Advancing Zero-Knowledge Cryptography

Image Credits: PolyU, Press Release

The Department of Computing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has achieved remarkable success in the field of zero-knowledge cryptography. Prof. Allen AU and Dr Xingye LU, leading a dedicated research team, have made ground-breaking advancements in empowering this cryptographic technique.

Their innovative solutions, particularly in GPU acceleration for Plonk-DIZK, have garnered significant recognition, including a prestigious cash prize of US$ 550,000. This achievement highlights PolyU’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology and propelling the field of zero-knowledge cryptography forward.

Zero-knowledge cryptography, commonly known as zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs), revolutionises the field of cryptography by enabling a “prover” to demonstrate the correctness of a computation without revealing any sensitive information.

This technology holds immense significance for Web3, a decentralised online ecosystem built on blockchain, as it offers numerous benefits including data privacy protection, enhanced efficiency, and scalability for transparent systems like blockchain. With zero-knowledge cryptography, individuals can securely interact with blockchain networks while preserving their privacy, promoting the growth and development of Web3 applications.

Zero-knowledge cryptography plays a vital role in fostering trust and driving the widespread adoption of decentralised applications, thereby fuelling the growth of Web3. By guaranteeing privacy and security, this cryptographic technique instils confidence in individuals to engage with decentralised systems, creating a trustworthy environment for transactions and interactions. It provides a powerful tool to verify the validity of computations without exposing sensitive information, establishing a foundation of privacy and integrity that is essential for the success of Web3.

Furthermore, zero-knowledge cryptography facilitates the development of innovative solutions for privacy-preserving data sharing and collaborative computation. Industries spanning financial services, healthcare, and supply chain management stand to benefit immensely from the application of this technology. It enables secure financial transactions, confidential exchange of healthcare data, and transparent traceability of supply chains, all while safeguarding sensitive information.

By harnessing the power of zero-knowledge cryptography, these industries can unlock new opportunities for efficiency, data protection, and trust in their operations, paving the way for transformative advancements and growth in Web3.

The widespread adoption of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs), particularly for large-scale applications, faces a significant obstacle in the form of high computation costs. Recognising this challenge, the research team dedicated their efforts to tackling this issue by focusing on enhancing the efficiency and scalability of Plonk, a widely used ZKP system.

Their ground-breaking achievement lies in their approach of leveraging GPU acceleration to expedite computations, leading to significant speed improvements. Additionally, the team addressed scalability concerns by distributing the workload evenly across multiple servers, enabling more efficient and scalable ZKP computations.

By harnessing the power of GPU acceleration, the research team successfully reduced the computation time required for ZKPs, making them more feasible and practical for real-world applications. This advancement not only improves the overall efficiency of ZKPs but also opens the door for their adoption in larger and more complex use cases. Moreover, the team’s approach of distributing the workload across multiple servers enhances the scalability of Plonk, allowing for increased computational capacity and accommodating growing demands.

Through their innovative solutions, the research team has made significant strides in overcoming the computation cost challenges associated with ZKPs, particularly in the context of scalability and efficiency. Their work paves the way for broader real-world adoption of ZKPs, making it more feasible to leverage the benefits of zero-knowledge cryptography in a variety of applications at scale.

Dr Lu expressed that their submission would be made available as open-source libraries, aiming to benefit the broader community. The research team aspires for this novel technology to serve as a foundation for the next generation of decentralised protocols and applications. By enabling secure, interoperable, and scalable solutions, they aim to contribute to the advancement of the next-generation web, empowering a wide range of innovative and reliable applications.


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