Proof of Honesty POH: Realizable probabilistic solutions for verifiable computations

This POH verification mechanism, on the one hand, can effectively promote users to become “police” to check and verify the computational problems on their own through the incentive mechanism, and on the other hand, punish the evildoers through the pledge margin penalty mechanism.

With the rapid development of the Internet and blockchain technology, the industry chain is booming and the platform economy is developing rapidly, with related large-scale enterprises emerging and entrepreneurs frequently entering; the sharing economy is also developing very hot in the current global market and attracting a large amount of capital to enter. According to Roland Berger, the global sharing economy reached US$186.9 billion in 2015 and will grow to US$520 billion by 2018; it is expected to exceed US$1,000 billion in 2021 and is expected to keep growing at a high rate in the future. The Pekka team seized the market opportunity, and after years of research, filled the gap in the market of shared computing arithmetic, and released the Pekka distributed shared arithmetic platform in 2019, aiming to achieve the sharing of global computing resources to improve the utilization rate of global idle arithmetic. We aim to meet the needs of multiple parties by using cryptocurrency as a means to pay for computing power.

In the process of developing the Pekka shared computing platform, there are many challenges in outsourcing the computational tasks to another party, one of which is the verifiable computation problem. The Verifiable Computing problem refers to Verifiable Computing (“VC”), where a computation task can be outsourced to a third-party provider; the (untrusted) third-party provider is required to submit a proof of correctness of the computation results while completing the computation task. A long-standing problem of how users can effectively verify computation results without re-executing the task has plagued computer scientists for years, until the advent of the proof-of-honesty mechanism POH made this problem achievable.

What is POH?

POH, known as Proof of Honesty, was proposed by Pekka’s research team on March 29, 2019, to solve the problem of verifiable computation to achieve trustworthiness in distributed computing power sharing platforms.

Previously computer scientists had two solutions for the trustworthy computing problem.

  1. Repeated verifiable computations on multiple computing devices. This solution is not only costly, but also requires the assumption that the computing devices themselves will not fail and cause errors in the computation results, which is obviously not often effective. For example, the hardware and software of all devices in a cloud service are usually identical, and if the computation error is caused by the device, the consistency of the repeated computation results does not guarantee the final correctness, which results in a high cost but no accurate validation results, resulting in a loss of human and material resources.
  2. Run a small group of sample calculations and then review the results of these samples. However, the insufficient number of samples makes this solution ineffective. There are other solutions, such as trusted hardware, but the premise is that a complete chain of hardware trust is required.

All of the above solutions are clearly not effective in solving the verifiable computation problem. The “Proof of Honesty (POH)”, which has been researched by Pekka’s R&D team for many years, is based on blockchain technology and inspired by “police entrapment of lawbreakers”. It allows users on the leasing side to act as “police officers” and assign trapping tasks to arithmetic providers with pre-knowledge of the results, verifying the results of the tasks through smart contracts, thereby detecting and catching malicious arithmetic providers in the network and imposing severe financial penalties on cheaters. This method has been verified by many parties and can effectively solve the computer verification problem.

Proof of Honesty POH: Realizable probabilistic solutions for verifiable computations

PoH consists of two phases.

Phase 1 – Preparation: The user who wishes to become a “police officer” will create a library of trapping tasks. This database contains one or more computational tasks that have been verified by the network nodes and saved on the chain. Each user can become a “cop” in order to receive a trapping reward. At the same time, computing power providers are required to submit a deposit before sharing computing power, and the amount of the deposit will be much higher than their task rewards.

Phase 2 – Execution: In this phase, the network randomly assigns the tasks in the database to the arithmetic provider. After the provider feeds the results to the “police”, the “police” can easily determine the correctness of the provider’s calculations by comparing the results with the correct results in its trapping task database. The “police” will publish both results on the blockchain by verifying the smart contract. The “judge”, i.e., some or all of the nodes running this validation smart contract, will decide whether the “cop”‘s judgment is correct. If it proves to be correct, a reward from the reward pool will be allocated to the “cop” as an incentive, while the provider’s deposit will be forfeited and put into the reward pool.

This POH verification mechanism, on the one hand, can effectively promote users to become “police” to independently check and verify the calculation problem through the incentive mechanism, and on the other hand, punish the evildoers through the pledge deposit penalty mechanism, which will effectively reduce the appearance of evildoers due to the high cost of evildoing. It is obvious that PoH has become the lowest cost and most efficient solution for verifiable computing problems, and is a very effective technical means to establish a global and credible shared computing network. Today, with the rapid development of the sharing economy, it has laid a good technical foundation to realize the sharing of global computing resources. The future has come in the era of shared computing power.

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