Ethereum Foundation | Columbia | Yales | Funds | Ethereum research

The Ethereum Foundation awards a research grant to Columbia and Yale universities in order to compile a new smart contract programming language into the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

The announcement was made in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on March 6. A smart contract R&D project called DeepSea, will be the beneficiary of the grant. The project is spearheaded by Professor Ronghui Gu, an assistant professor of computer science at Columbia in collaboration with researchers at Yale.

Gu is also the co-founder of blockchain security firm CertiK and one of the participants in the project that raised “several million” in a funding round led by Binance Labs last October.

Part of the foundation’s fifth wave financing, this new grant is under the aegis of the Ethereum Foundation Grants Program. The programme is devoted to supporting Ethereum 2.0 and Layer 2 scaling efforts.


Named after a new smart contracts programming language that was originally created at the research lab of Professor Shao, department chair of computer science at Yale and Gu’s fellow co-founder at CertiK.

The language was initially designed for the implementation of system software, the press release points out that the high risks surrounding smart contract vulnerabilities have provided a fresh impetus to extend DeepSea’s “protective features” to that arena. As Professor Gu has outlined:

Because [smart] contracts are self-executable and permanent, it is crucial that these contracts perform only as they are precisely intended. The DeepSEA language will allow programmers to add safeguards to ensure that the code conforms exactly to its specifications, using Formal Verification.

The ‘Formal Verification’ refers to “the process of leveraging mathematical proofs to verify the correctness of code implementation.” Reportedly, it was initially implemented in the NASA Mars Rover and other hardware systems that the press release characterizes as “mission critical.”

Now the process is being extended for use in software systems, as with CertiK’s auditing of smart contracts and blockchain protocols, and can be used to prevent the possible introduction of bugs while compiling DeepSea into the EVM.

Read more: Crypto Markets Wrap Mar 7: Major Cryptocurrencies Trade Sideways, Binance Gains, ABBC Tanks

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