Dr Joshua Ellul

Joshua is a Lecturer within the Department of Computer Science. Joshua is working on optimising/developing internal Blockchain virtual machines and lowering the learning curve of smart contract development, as well as focusing on integrating the IoT with Blockchain technologies.

Prof Gordon Pace

Gordon is interested in the formal aspects and applications of blockchain technologies and smart contracts from the perspective of more dependable computing and services. He is currently working on verification techniques for smart contracts and the use of distributed ledgers for safer systems.

Dr Albert Gatt

Albert is the director of the Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology. His research focusses on automatic text generation. He is interested in the potential for making smart contracts comprehensible to users through natural language processing technologies.

Dr Mireille Caruana

Mireille is lecturer in EU Information Technology Law within the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta. Her research interests span a set of topics relating to the information age that raises new political, social, and economic issues, and requires consideration of appropriate legal and regulatory approaches to tackling them, normally outside of traditional legal paradigms.

Dr Jean Paul Ebejer

JP's interests lie in bioinformatics data, more specifically using blockchain technology for biomedical data. He also has a keen interest and lectures several modules in Data Science. One research area he intends to pursue is building (data) analytical tools for the blockchain.

Dr Claudia Borg

Claudia is a lecturer with the Department of Artificial Intelligence. She is interested in the computational analysis of language exchanges that occur in digital ledgers, with the aim of extracting meaningful information using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning techniques.

Dr Vince Vella

Vince is a Lecturer within the Department of Artificial Intelligence. His main interests revolve around Computational Finance. With respect to blockchain technology, he is interested in the overlap between AI and blockchain particularly in the areas of AI Managed Funds, decentralized AI utilizing smart contracts, data standardisation and discovery, and regulatory frameworks.

Dr Adrian Francalanza

Adrian Francalanza's interests in Blockchain are:
1. Create abstractions that assist the construction of smart contracts that are correct-by-design.
2. Devise specification logics and algorithms to verify the correctness of smart contracts statically, before they are executed and permanently recorded.

Dr Mark J Vella

Mark is a Lecturer within the Department of Computer Science. His main interest lies in the study of exploits and malware that target Blockchain frameworks, and and in turn leverage the enhanced trustworthiness to implement distributed access control that minimizes reliance on trusted third parties.

Dr Chris Porter

Chris is a Lecturer within the Department of Computer Information Systems. Chris is working on applying techniques from HCI and human factors to study and mitigate risks associated with information anxiety in software engineering practices as well as risks arising from usability issues in software artefacts.

Dr Neville Grech

Neville is a Reach High Postdoctoral Fellow in Computer Science specialized in applied programming languages and declarative program analysis. His current research focuses on decompilation and program analysis of smart contracts deployed on the blockchain for finding security and scalability issues.

Adrian Mizzi

Adrian (a PhD candidate in Computer Science) has interests in functional programming, macro-programming of IoT devices and blockchain edge systems. His background includes over 15 years experience in the FinTech industry.

Shaun Azzopardi

Shaun is a PhD student within the Department of Computer Science. He is interested in using both static and dynamic analysis verification techniques to secure dependencies between smart contracts, and to allow for automated service composition.

Brandon Birmingham

Brandon is a PhD candidate within the Department of Communications & Computer Engineering. His main interest lies in the engineering of decentralised applications and the integration of AI and blockchain technology. He is also interested in performance and scalability for the blockchain ecosystem.

Dr Wayne Pisani

Partner at Grant Thornton

Prof Alexiei Dingli

Head of Department of Artificial Intelligence

Dr Kevin Vella

Head of Department of Computer Science

Prof Ernest Cachia

Dean of the Faculty of ICT

Dr Vincent-Anthony Marmara

Lecturer in Management, Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy

Dr Simon Grima

Head of Department of Insurance, Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy


Runtime Monitoring of
Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are intended to automate the performance and manage interaction in a contract. However, on certain platforms such as Ethereum, such contracts are programmed using a Turing complete instruction set which raises issues of correctness and conformance to the intended behaviour as recent heists based on vulnerabilities found in existing contracts have shown. In particular, one can also envisage situations in which contracts may be engineered by malicious developers to include shrouded corner cases to benefit particular participants, which will be exploited at a later date. In order to address such situations, we are currently looking at ways of monitoring contract behaviour against a specification, in order to flag unexpected behaviour and act accordingly. In addition, in order to avoid having the additional checks increase gas consumption unnecessarily, we are using static techniques to avoid checking parts of such specifications which can be proved statically.

Blockchain of Things

Blockchain technology and smart contracts provides decentralised, verifiable and tamper-proof means of sharing state and the computation of.
The Internet of Things, by integrating smart and connected objects with commodities and services, promises to enhance our day to day lives.
The integration of IoT with Blockchain technology and smart contracts will enable agreements that enable guaranteed automation of physical processes.

Smart Contracts and the Blockchain Edge

Programming of blockchain smart contracts and connected systems typically entails the development of the following separate applications:
(i) the internal blockchain smart contract logic; (ii) blockchain edge nodes that coordinate other external systems; and (iii) the aforementioned external systems. Therefore, developers are typically required to acquire a varied skill set of programming paradigms and tools.
In aim of lowering the development costs of blockchain and blockchain edge systems, we are undertaking research on macro-programming techniques for blockchain edge systems and the smart contracts that bind them.

Blockchain Bytecode Framework

The execution of smart contracts within a blockchain is typically associated with a cost. In aim of reducing execution costs, we are looking into optimisation techniques within the Virtual Machine layer.
Most Blockchain Virtual Machines being used in the wild internally operate on generic intermediate representation types. We are looking into making use of blockchain specific intermediate representation types that would enable execution efficiency and a more suitable platform for verification.

Upcoming Event

Starting-up in Blockchain
A Non-Technical Introduction to Blockchain and Smart Contracts

June 11th at BusinessLabs. See the below facebook event for more details:

Past Events

Game Lecture Series:
Playing around with Blockchain

April 17 at the Institute of Digital Games. See the below facebook event for more details:

Blockchain Smart Contracts Hands-On Session

Friday 23rd February 2018 at 6PM-8PM; continued on Saturday from 10AM-12PM

Blockchain research hackathon

Saturday 24th - Sunday 25th February 2018

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