Golem: A Decentralized Cloud Computing Network

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Golem: A decentralized cloud computing network

Contents

This article will discuss the Golem Network and how it operates intensively.

Introduction

Blockchain technology has exposed the world to a realm of beautiful creation that we would have thought to be impossible years ago. From a technology built mainly for peer-to-peer transactions in 2009 (bitcoin blockchain), the blockchain has become the technology of choice for many applications such as healthcare, gaming, real-estate, etc. 

Blockchain technology not only allows for creating wealth or enforcing a contract without a third party but also for building supercomputers. The first decentralized supercomputer to be built on the Ethereum network using blockchain technology is the Golem Network.

History of the Golem Network

Golem was co-founded by Piotr Janiuk, Aleksandra Skrzpczak, Julian Zawistowski and Andrzej Regulski in 2016 in Switzerland. After launch, Golem sold 82% of its supply and raised about 820,000 Eth, which amounted to about 8.6 million dollars at that time.

What is Golem Network?

Golem is a decentralized application (dApp) built on the Ethereum network. It is a decentralized supercomputer that connects computers in a peer-to-peer network, thus creating a global market where application developers and users can rent resources (idle computational power) of other user’s machines. Users can rent their hardware and be paid in Golem tokens. Those who need computational resources to complete a more complicated task such as CGI rendering, artificial intelligence, etc., can get it and pay for it through the Golem marketplace. The beauty of the Golem Network is that anyone can access it, and its constituents are the combined power of users’ machines from personal computers to the whole data centers.

The computational resources supplied by centralized cloud service providers such as Amazon, Google, etc., have limitations such as hard-coded provisioning operations, closed networks, and proprietary payment systems. Golem provided a decentralized marketplace where users can share the computational resources that other users require to carry out their tasks to address these limitations. The users who share their resources to the Golem Network get rewarded in Golem tokens (the native token of Golem).  

Golem functions as the backbone of a decentralized marketplace focused on computing power. Anyone who wants to create and deploy software to the Golem Network can publish the software to the application registry. Developers can use the application registry and transaction framework to extend and customize the payment mechanism, which gives rise to a unique way of monetizing software.

Application Registry and Transaction Framework

The Golem Network has various features that make it unique, but the application registry and transaction framework are essential. The application registry and transaction framework empower developers and create a secure, transparent, and efficient platform. 

What is an Application Registry?

The application registry is simply a register of the basic information of applications and their developers. A smart contract built on the Ethereum blockchain allows developers to integrate their applications into the Golem Network. Anyone can confirm the authenticity of an application by checking the registry; the registry holds information about a trusted application and a non-trusted application. Developers can publish their integrated applications and help users locate the required tools for their needs.

 What is a Transaction Framework?

Picture Credit: Golem Whitepaper

The transactional framework allows developers and providers to decide the payment mechanism and set the price they want for their applications. The transaction mechanism is entered into the application registry and must use an open-source or Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) as a deterministic environment. The mechanism also uses GNT (the native token of the Golem Network) and receives community approval. Examples of transaction frameworks are off-chain payment channels, custom receipts, Nano payments, per-unit use of software, payout schemes, etc.

The Working Principle of Golem

Golem provides a platform where providers, software developers, and others share computing power and network resources. The transaction initiates when a requestor (a user who accesses Golem Network to ask for resources) demands computational resources from a provider (a user who sells computing power) through the task template. For instance, instead of paying a centralized cloud-based platform such as Google Cloud for artificial intelligence, which is a computer-intensive process and slow on some occasions, the user can request computation power from a provider in the Golem’s peer-to-peer network.

Steps involved in carrying out a task through the Golem Network include the following:

  • The requesters visit the Golem Network
  • They submit a task on the network
  • The task is broadcasted on the network with the demand and necessary information such as the specs of required resources
  • The providers publish an offer for their computational resources
  • The demand and the published offer is matched to check if they agree with each other
  • The requestors meet these potential providers and “terms of business” are negotiated
  • Once an agreement is reached on the business terms, input files get transferred to the provider node
  • The provider starts the task
  • Once the task is complete, the output files get transferred to the requestor from the provider
  • A payment note is issued, so the providers get rewarded for their services
  • Payment is through the Golem token (GNT)

The Architecture of the Task Template and Reputation System

The Golem Network requires the task template (which has the complete computational logic) to execute the request made by the requestor. The computational logic needed to execute the request are:

  1. The source code to be run
  2. Splitting of the task into subtasks and sending it into different nodes
  3. Verification of final results

As soon as a task is completed, Golem immediately grades the requestors and providers that use its marketplace through the reputation system. The network detects malicious nodes and provides an evaluation metric for scoring tasks correctly.

The reputation system monitors the task of the requestors to ensure that it does not contain errors when the provider computes it and monitors the timeline of the requestor’s payments.

The reputation system grades a provider because they have computed their task correctly, and the task passed a verification check upon return.

Golem’s Use-case

Golem cryptocurrency (GNT) use-case is in the Golem Network. The value of GNT is attached to its use in the Golem Network because it is the coin of choice. Requestors need a GNT token to rent computational resources from a provider who computes the computations. Hence, the requestor will always have to buy GNT to access the Golem Network.

Summary

The Golem Network was created to solve the problems associated with renting computing power from centralized cloud-based providers. It achieved this by allowing users to supply and lease providers’ computational resources using a peer-to-peer approach. The network rewards providers of the hardware the requestor rent with GNT. Golem prides itself as the first open-sourced decentralized supercomputer powered by the Ethereum blockchain.

Also read Augur: Your Global, No-Limit Betting Platform

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