iExec V4 is here! ↓
Easier — User/Dev Experience Upgrades
Faster — Sidechain Integration
Cheaper — No Fees
More Powerful — GPU Support
iExec V4 will be released in December 2019. This upcoming version is key in the scaling and adoption of iExec, being faster, cheaper, and easier to use. Integrating features such Bag-of-Tasks, sidechain, GPU integration, TEE, UX improvements and more. Let’s have a look in detail what to expect for this upcoming release.
Last year, we saw the fully decentralized marketplace for cloud computing resources working, live on Ethereum main net. We also launched the very first complete off-chain trusted compute TEE solution for blockchain. With this next version, iExec V4 is all about scaling: the same service, but faster and at a lower cost. So, let’s take a look at how this is achieved and why it is so important for adoption.
With an initial integration in the just released iExec V3.2, it is a key feature that brings iExec closer to a classic cloud computing experience. ‘Bag-of-Tasks’ (BoT) scheduling has been extensively developed in grid computing infrastructures. It involves complexe submissions as a single transaction, containing multiple independent tasks that can be executed out of order. This optimises computation of applications such as video encoding, 3D rendering or big data analysis as they often rely on the processing of many independent sub-tasks. Bag of Tasks will optimise the iExec powered parallel applications, especially in the field of machine learning, i.e. optimization software such as iExec dapp Open Mole.
At V4 release, we’ll launch a sidechain for interactions on the iExec network. This sidechain is based on PoA chains and bridges (based on Parity Tech). Most on-chain operations on the platform don’t really need to “live on the blockchain forever”. However, a reliable blockchain is still required for the Proof-of-Contribution (PoCo) consensus protocol, and for keeping track of participant behaviors and payments as well as for storing information about what orders are available on the network. Following the governance of the sidechain will be a research area focus after the V4 release.
Users transfer RLC from the mainchain to the sidechain, having the possibility to withdraw their tokens. After that, all other interactions with the platform come at no cost. Here are the main advantages are: no gas fees, less latency, and higher performance.
iExec V4 can be seen as an intermediary step: in this phase, iExec will be the only authority to select validators of the sidechain. Ideally, the governance of it will be set in December 2020 (V5). It is also important to mention that the RLC token economy is improved: workers will need to stake RLC to join a pool, and users will have to lock RLC to access the resources of the platform (servers, datasets and apps).
The feedback we gathered from the community is confirming that the user experience of V3 remains challenging and can be improved, especially if you're not familiar with the crypto thing. So in addition to the sidechain integration, you can expect a significant improvement on the account management: multiple providers support, in-app crypto purchase and in-app swaps. The explorer will also be improved: users will be able to search for a specific address and get information about its activity.
In addition to these improvements, the integration of the ENSLogin will significantly improve the onboarding process for iExec users… and also for every dapps’ users because the ENSLogin is a collaborative effort made for and by the Ethereum community. We invite you to read our recently published article on this topic.
Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) Developments
The current version of iExec TEE is based on SCONE (see our documentation on TEEs) and we also have started to work on the integration of Graphene, developed by Intel in collaboration with UNC Chapel Hill University and Golem.
iExec is actively contributing to the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance: we’ve been working on the specifications of off-chain Trusted Compute. We’re now implementing it for a specific business case to be announced at Devcon5 (8–11 October). The TEE’s Secret Management Service (SMS) which is also using Intel® SGX, will be significantly improved in V4.
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A long-awaited feature, an initial integration of GPU support will be delivered with iExec V4 (starting with Nvidia). Here’s how it will work: as a requester you just have to tick the GPU box on the iExec Marketplace.
This will allow the development of deep learning apps and services which require massive amounts of computing power. A few months ago, we sealed a partnership with EDF who are currently using the service.
Following the tradition of picking a name in the Shui Hu Zhuan, one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature, V4 will be 解寶 (Xiè Bǎo), the “Twin-tailed Scorpion”.
The novel describes Xie Bao as a seven chi young man with a round face and a dark complexion. He sports a pair of flying yaksha tattoos on his legs, and dresses like his brother, using tiger’s or leopard’s hide as his clothes. Brave and daring, he can travel in harsh conditions, scale mountains, and climb dangerous cliffs. He is highly skilled in martial arts and uses a bronze forked spear as his weapon. He is nicknamed “Twin-tailed Scorpion”. (source: Wikipedia)
Many people in the community are already asking about version 5 and beyond. At this point it wouldn’t make sense to describe a detailed roadmap on what’s coming in the coming ten years. What we already know is that:
- There will be updated governance politics for the sidechain.
- The deployment of workers and worker pools will get easier.
- We’ll provide the tools to allow the pool managers to set their order placement strategies on the marketplace.
- A complete invoicing system will be delivered along with fiat-to-crypto automatic swaps to fit corporate users’ needs.
Our goal will be to gradually get rid of the pain points that are hampering the overall adoption of the platform. There will be shorter release cycles that will take into account the users feedback, especially corporate ones. We’re getting closer to the full delivery of iExec as described in the White Paper. Then we’ll just switch to the “total world domination” mode, so to speak. 😉
Interested in following the iExec project? What’s next?
Before iExec V4 (the high-performance computing version with GPU support) is released this year, we’ll be giving more news on the recent developments of each of the recent announcements. To be the first to know and get exclusive updates, subscribe to the iExec newsletter and follow on social media.