University of Kansas and UBRI

The University of Kansas, due to its status as an institution at the forefront of innovation in technology research, has been selected as one of the few distinguished universities in the world to partner with Ripple's University Blockchain Research Initiative.


Jayhawk with Ripple Logo

UBRI Projects & Updates

KU Faculty: English professor Ayesha Hardison and engineering professor Drew Davidson

The History of Black Writing project is an excellent example where an internationally renowned source for information converted from a distributed online database to a blockchain.

A conversation with English Professor Ayesha Hardison, the Director of the History of Black Writing, and Engineering Professor Drew Davidson who implemented the technology. They explore this unique collaboration between University of Kansas faculty that resulted in applying blockchain to better expose students, instructors and audiences to reading literature by Black authors and further building the community to engage in dialogue about the history and future of the books, recovery and preservation. 

I2S Faculty: Drew DavidsonPerry Alexander

I2S Students: Tony Ma, Elizabeth Wyss

Collaborators: Town Peterson, Fernando Machado, Ali Khalighifar

This project develops a highly-available biodiversity research collection on the blockchain. Biodiversity research collections are an important tool for cataloguing, refining and sharing knowledge about biological specimens. These collections need to be flexible to support the wide variety of species, collection policies, and curatorial transactions. Furthermore, new information to be added as additional specimens are identified and processed while providing strong guarantees that records of existing findings cannot be erased. To meet these goals, we are using a hyperledger-fabric based solution to allow scientists to manage a collection securely and conveniently. This project is an interdisciplinary effort, including scientists from the KU Biodiversity Institute and I2S. 

I2S Faculty: Drew Davidson 

I2S Students: Elizabeth Wyss 

This project creates a distributed password hardening system on the blockchain. Our system, called Parsae, uses strong cryptographic primitives to advance the state of the art in pseudorandom function services, which limit the effectiveness of password guessing attacks, especially when a password database is breached or stolen. In the Parsae scheme, password attempts are required to interact with an online pseudorandom function (PRF) service in order to use a password. While past PRFs have exposed a vector for denial of service by shutting down the PRF service, Parsae uses the blockchain to ensure redundancy and force an adversary to scale an attack against an entire Hyperledger Fabric deployment instead of a single server. Furthermore, Parsae offers strong auditing capabilities, meaning that the Parsae service can be run in a semi-untrusted 3rd-party service. 

KU Blockchain Institute Logo

The University of Kansas Blockchain Institute is a student-led technology initiative established under the Institute for Information Sciences (I2S). We strive to make Lawrence the technology hub of the Midwest through the interdisciplinary research, education, and development of distributed ledger technologies at KU. 

I2S Faculty: Perry Alexander

This project has Brooklyn-based artist Stephanie Dinkins, Berlin-based artist Simon Denny, and KU electrical engineering and computer science professor Perry Alexander exploring and challenging blockchain technology.

To assist researchers in finding novels written by known and no so well known black authors, EECS and I2S Professor Drew Davidson is partnering with Maryemma Graham, University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Kansas and founder of its Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW), to bring to life a novel-generator machine. The novel-generator machine would perform a similar function that an expert in the area would when asked by others for recommendations. I2S will provide expertise in implementing blockchain technology.