Eric Hop – Interview

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back to the UK’s at number one crypto
and blockchain podcast and on today’s
show we have a repeat guest BEM yes we
do
we were joined by the wonderful and
incredibly knowledgeable Eric from the
iota foundation and he comes back today
to talk about a project which he
couldn’t reveal too much about last time
no well he certainly spilled the beans
he did so Eric Hauck he works at the
idea foundation yes and the last episode
was one of our most popular yeah I think
that’s cuz the iota can be hugely down
easy little warning this does get quite
techie and we’re not actually a
technical podcast but Eric is an
incredible developer and techie and
self-confessed nerd yeah he says as I
quote ways have told us he’s living the
dream yeah absolutely and he yet dived
into cubic which is a project which he
has been developing pretty much solo
with the help of a few other people over
the last year talks about some new
programming languages which they’ve
developed paprika Deborah
Abraha and and how this how this new
product is gonna sit in the real world
so it’s huge yeah be a massive massive
and we hold some iota in our pool video
too we do
we’re holding science I’m gonna probably
be hoping for a little while yes but
let’s hear from Eric and
some updates
so Eric welcome back to the critter paws
podcast how have you been uh great
very busy good yeah it looks like
there’s been a lot going on on that side
so I think when we lost but there’s
several months back and it was really a
bit of an introduction to iota for our
listeners and some of the use cases of
some of the things that we’re going on
and and you’re you’re your own personal
story so what have you been working on
what if I have been working on that
really since we last spoke what’s been
the main focus or have there been many
focuses yeah iodized is very diverse in
that regard there are there are a few
projects going on we’ve grown quite a
lot since then I think we’re up to about
80 people Wow yeah yeah that’s quite a
grind yeah we’re still adding in yeah
and and those people are divided over
several several projects I have to say
because of my focus on on cubic I’m not
that deep into what the other projects
are doing lots of interesting stuff
there’s a rewrite of the reference
implementation in C that’s going on cool
that’s going to be a lot faster all
kinds of developments like everything
what does that what does that mean
exactly maybe you could just kind of
explain what that means on listeners and
and how that would improve things
okay the the original reference
implementation was written in Java
yeah well kana it wasn’t I failed I
started out as more as a proof of
concept but we we hit that right moment
when when crypto went up like crazy loss
here
you know that that that that our
software actually yeah got used in such
a way that we some point I think we were
number number four in the in the crypto
currency list I remember it yeah yeah I
remember back those days yeah for sure
they’ll return week longer yeah yeah
yeah III actually like like it better
the way it goes now yes yeah there’s a
little those crazy things are are not
realistic right for sure I think we’re a
bit more strong and stable now aren’t we
yeah reason a joke yeah very rather slow
growth then then that crazy take off
that there’s no reality-based
yeah for sure thing is it was just pure
emotional fear of missing out going on
them yeah absolutely
um now Eric when you joined us a few
months back we spoke and touched on
cubic which are at the time was all
under wraps it was top secret about and
we couldn’t talk about it too much you
couldn’t say anything but now I think
today we can dive into what it is and
what what what cubic is and how it works
and what you’ve been working on yeah at
that time we were still figuring a few
things out but once we knew enough we we
first created some maybe too much hype
for what we were going to show whereby
like by releasing a video about it that
was really exciting and then a month
later we revealed the the website that
explained of cubic exactly is cubic is
a platform for cloud-based
multiprocessing
on the tango on the Ayoka tango that
anyone can participate in it it
leverages the worldwide unused computing
capacity to solve all kinds of problems
so anybody can join in with with this
computer
that’s idling and use that Eiling time
for processing also just like the rest
of yoga it is geared towards the
Internet of Things those devices that
you have any Internet of Things are
usually pretty well they have they have
local capabilities the processing
capabilities are limited the energy that
they can use is limited so they can do
complex processing and what we’re
creating with cubic is a platform in
which those devices can outsource the
more heavy computing to other devices
that are more capable Wow okay that’s a
really good way of explaining it Eric
because I was I’ll be honest I was
reading the website and then I read it
again and then I still wasn’t clear
about kind of how it works but that that
makes sense so like what is what are
some of the examples of why that would
be required well like I said limited
capabilities of offering IOT devices I
mean take temperature sensors for
example yeah it they have a very
specific function and the data that they
provide usually needs more processing
but let’s say you have a bunch of
temperature sensors that are dispersed
over a larger area and you want to
calculate the average temperature for
that area then
you need all those sensors to provide
that data and some we’re centrally you
want to process that data so that could
work for things like stock value data as
well presumably yeah it could work for
stock value data it’s any any data that
is available outside of the tango that
can that can be imported into a cubic to
what what they call an Oracle an Oracle
is a provider of external data data
external to the Iota system of course
that brings with it a bunch of security
issues so you want to you want to be
sure about the data about the
correctness of the data and that’s why
in cubic Oracle’s can be grouped in such
a way that several different sources of
of the same data can be used to validate
that or at least to get a consensus on
the validity of the data by comparing
the the inputs and seeing if there are
any mismatches and we we have defined
that we need at least 2/3 majority to be
able to to determine that it’s a fail at
data I mean it sounds absolutely
incredible what you guys have achieved
and I know that you’ve been working so
hard behind the scenes to get this thing
built but with the announcement of cubic
now and it’s it’s essentially up and
running how have you found adoption I
mean other any real-world use cases
which are currently live and active know
cubic is is a pretty big project it’s a
multi-year project we’re currently
working on a first proof of concept and
we hope to
to have that proof of concept ready
around the end of the year for example
we have we have a bunch of things that
are very very different from other
projects the most importantly the fact
that were of course ternary based
trinary based yeah
that means we we need to be able to send
our data over that over the tangle and
IO guys the third rebased and that’s
because well the the guy who designed it
like a fan check load the guy who’s
known has come from beyond he he
envisioned that in the future everything
but most most of this will be Internet
of Things of course humans are part of
this but compared to the billions and
billions of devices that will be running
on the Internet of Things people are
well almost an afterthought or for iota
and that means that you need to focus on
those devices and provide something that
is really really appealing to them and
that means low energy usage and very
efficient programming that’s why he
selected the ternary computing even
though most computers run binary
nowadays it’s not really a problem for
the Internet of Things because those
devices will probably mostly run on
FPGAs and Asics mm-hmm so it’s it’s
hardware more hardware than than
software so the the programming language
we are using in the cubic project has
been geared towards FPGAs and Asics of
course you can run it on CPUs and and I
know graphic cars and such but it’s more
emulation that’s going on that but
specifically is geared towards creating
circuitry from a programming language so
we had to create a completely new
programming language that was that what
I’m geared towards that and they see
this is opera is that is that right yeah
that’s the language is called Abra
abracadabra for the for abracadabra
you followed how I odor came to be but
iota is actually a foundation for the
cubic project yes come from beyond
started what he called forum based
computation I think yeah big way before
IOLTA bumped into some some problems
there and found out that he needed a
messaging platform with payments and
that messaging platform with payments
became iota but I oh that was only the
first step towards cubic so we’re going
to use iota as the backbone for cubic
but music itself goes way further than
that and so we we now have actually we
we only have since a few days a really
working opera compiler so we we can
actually run our programs since it’s
about two weeks and we can finally see
how how the language handles in real
time or at least in the real world how
have those tests gone they were very
interesting the the first programs that
that we wrote or actually I’ve
personally been writing our our Braco
they shown that it’s a completely
different programming style our price is
a language that has no control
structures okay yet you have no
if-then-else
you have no for loops or wire loops just
like other languages have yeah I mean is
it is it similar to any other language
what does it does it have a nearest
cousin or is this mr. Martin it’s a
functional programming language so
nearest cousin would maybe be Haskell
but it’s so still so different from from
what happens in Haskell we’ve tried to
create a syntax that is that is very
understandable to programmers so very
familiar to what they know yeah but the
weirdness of opera is that you you have
only function expressions opera has no
built-in operators there is no
multiplication division addition
subtraction all those standard operators
that are that programmers are used to
they are not built in into our opera is
so extremely simple it literally only
has five operations one is obviously for
a functional programming the function
call that will allow you to reuse other
parts of the code then we have the heart
of opera which is the lookup table and
that’s a very weird innovation where
every operation can be expressed as a
lookup so for example addition is
literally done by looking up the value
given given input values in a table what
the resulting output value should be and
it’s a very small
table because we’re doing it on a street
level it means that we we literally have
a little table that tells if you have
minus one and you have zero then the
result for addition is minus one if you
have plus one and minus one then the
result is zero right so we have tables
like that and from that from that lowest
level we create higher level functions
so that use those lowest level lookups
so that means that for example if you we
we have a database a single data type in
our bar that is we call it the trait
vector a trend is one of the three
possible values that you have when you
do trinary computation and the functions
combine multiple traits into a trait
factor and you can define your own data
types from that and one common use data
type is the integer data type for
example so and I’ve written a few
functions that can do addition
subtraction multiplication and division
on trade factors of any size so that
that trade that match really really
crazy results just for fun I I used a
trade factor of over 6,000 trades and
did some calculations with that and to
give you an idea the value act that can
maximally be expressed with such a trade
factor it’s over three thousand digits
Wow so you can do computations with
ridiculous numbers accurate accurately
but you can also gear it exactly to the
needs so if you only need a value debt
that expresses values from from one to
ten
and you can you can deal with only three
threads yeah that that reduces the
energy users because every trait that
you have to keep alive in circuitry
costs energy sure so my question would
be then for for the layman who wants to
do any computation how how would they
know how many threads to use or is that
is the point that you that you need to
understand what you’re doing to be able
to build these programs yeah especially
at the beginning you will need to know
what you’re what you’re doing you will
need to have an idea of what it is to
map to circuitry yeah because there’s
there’s just very interesting things
going on there for example a function
call isn’t isn’t that clear-cut as it is
with with with standard CPUs if you if
you instantiate a function in hardware
then if you call that function or well
what what we call calling the function
is not really a call it’s actually
sending data through circuitry right
sending signals through it and while
those signals are being sent through it
you don’t want to touch that circuitry
yeah because otherwise you interfere
with the results yeah so if a function
would call itself recursively you cannot
actually do that in Hardware what you
need to do is you need to instantiate a
second function yeah so the first
function will will have data flowing
into the second function and then the
return values from that second function
will be piped back into the original
function to be further processed and if
you go even deeper multiple recursion
then you have to instantiate a function
for every level of recursion so it it’s
it’s a very different way of looking at
things yeah and very definitely that is
built-in in the in the programming
language yeah that’s the whole culture
throughout died to foundation is to look
at things do
and do things differently because we’ve
never spoken to a was gonna say a
blockchain project but it’s kind of not
really a blockchain I it’s not you
famously said Eric it’s the Bloch
yeah the blockchain project was kind of
a spinoff actually by effect well I
guess that’s how the universe started
and is really crazy what I like some of
the the biggest challenges that you’re
experiencing at the moment from a
development point of view well of course
a really big challenge is having to
figure things out
right we’re so far at the forefront of
computing that it’s not even funny
anymore
we’re really having to do carve around
path and and to stuff that is completely
out of the ordinary which means that
we’re clashing with establishment
regularly over things
I’m sure yeah I’m sure you’ve heard
about the DCI controversy about the fact
that they thought they found a problem
in our hashing function I I’m not sure
that we did actually what was the what
was the case there in that case some
cryptographic researchers were checking
out the the basic hash function that we
were using in in the iota system and
they found what they thought was a
vulnerability but the problem with with
that kind of niche nola niche knowledge
from twister is that if you’re so
focused on your own subject like
cryptography like hash functions right
you’re usually not looking at the
holistic view at the big picture yeah
this hash function was part of
a bigger thing with respect to security
so even though the thing they pointed
out was well-known actually by us it
wasn’t a problem for security but
because they have a few dogmas like you
shouldn’t roll your own cryptographic
functions they thought that they were
right they’re very much in their mindset
that we we own the knowledge and we know
everything and you know anything that’s
new is is dismissed beforehand right
yeah so we bump into things like that
which which created a lot of negative
publicity in the in the crypto world
around Toyota but were simply ignoring
that and marching on the funny thing is
that the the corporates that are getting
involved with iota are all very
convinced about what we’re doing which
so they don’t look at that kind of
fear-mongering they look at it in a
practical way they look at the quality
of the team the quality of the code the
quality of the ideas the merit of the
ideas and they see the IOT coming and
they see that there will be a need for a
communication layer between all these
devices and that is exactly where IO
guys position it sure and I’m sure they
see the commercial upside as well of
working with that’s the thing right for
them it’s only about the the end result
the dollars that float in yeah yeah
absolutely
we just got so which is oddly sort of
anti crypto but but a but an interesting
partnership nonetheless yeah we have a
large number of corporates that have
partnered with us and are currently on
developing all kinds of proof of
concepts and this this year has been the
year of proof of concept building yeah
and I’m sure next year all those proof
of concepts are going to come out all of
a sudden
and that will definitely put I out on
the map because we will be one of the
few cryptocurrencies that actually has
implementations in the real world hmm
well that’s great because we’ve got a
nice bag my noticing in a portfolio that
we’re definitely huddling at the moment
yeah just excited to see where that goes
hey who know no one knows I mean but I
think the most important thing is you
have I think a world-class team
delivering as you say you know really
great ideas and getting on with it and I
think some of these partnerships like I
think we took spoke about Porsche last
time was I was a partner that was using
always going to use iota it I think that
that you know the automotive sector
especially is gonna be really exciting
so yeah we’re we’re keen to see where
this all goes so Eric before we wrap up
today is there anything else that you
think our listeners might want to know
any other things you’ve got on the
horizon or anything else you wanted to
cover off oh I get speak for hours about
cubic of course one of the things I’m
very happy with is that my my role as
this product owner initially was more
about setting up the project and and
getting a lot of documented and and
getting the website up and running and
things like that but we’re now in a
stage where I can finally go back to
what’s actually my passion in its
programming so I’m diving in myself I’m
still writing documentation we should
have documentation about the Opera
programming language that I’ve been
writing within a few weeks that’s
exciting and we’re we’re actually
thinking of of combining the
documentation release with the release
open source in the Opera interpreter
well that the community can start
playing with it that’s that’s that’s
important to us right the community
I mean I’ve been interacting with the
community a lot and from the moment we
got something of of a partly working
arbor interpreter people started getting
interested and we’ve had we’ve had
people that does one guy on this court
that that took the syntax diagram and
created a syntax highlighter for the
IntelliJ platform for example that’s
command that has been very helpful in my
own opera programming because I know I
highlight the syntax in my development
yeah absolutely
and just just yesterday or the day
before the the well-known guy micro hash
that created a kind of cubic light
industry in his spare time he actually
helped me out by implementing the
just-in-time compilation for for opera
while I was working on other stuff so
there’s there’s a lot of people that are
getting involved and once they get
involved they become very enthusiastic
because it’s it’s it’s so much out there
right this this is literally a nerd
dream to work on so yeah I would I want
to get as many nerds involved as
possible
III are literally living the dream yeah
absolutely it kind of that the whole
thing reminds me of the the days of open
source operating systems and the kind of
the kind of collaboration and working
together to develop something brilliant
that’s for the community and by the
community and I think that you guys are
a world-class team that are delivering
exceptional products so I’m so excited
to see where this goes yeah me too I’m
I’m literally like you said living the
dream working from home all day and
doing what I love doing right and yeah I
even though I’m literally working 24/7
seven days a week
it doesn’t feel like work I’m having so
much fun doing it
yeah well have your wife agrees I’m like
well we have a few agreements that I may
time for now and then well now I’m glad
to say that she’s very self-sufficient
and yeah well we meet up during the day
a lot because I work from home right so
sure that’s that’s the other advantage
of working from home yeah for sure and
she knows it is my passion that yeah we
have a good understanding about that
well that’s good and you know the thing
is you’re out building something that
could conceivably change the world so um
you know there’s got to be a little bit
of flexibility that all right well
should we maybe get you back on in like
Hugh one or cutie next year I think
because you know all our listeners have
enjoyed the first interview and I’m sure
they’ll enjoy hearing some more updates
in the in the future as well as the ones
from today so we’ll probably drop your
line maybe February March time and see
where you’re at
yeah sure that’d be wonderful happy to
oblige
thank you so much everything so thank
you so much for joining it
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