Ashiq Anjum


Title Blockchain enabled Distributed Systems: A Healthcare Perspective

A blockchain is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across distributed systems. Each ledger entry is time-stamped and permanent so that the records cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks. These ledgers (blockchains) are characterized by four key elements: shared distribution (every computer node has the same version which is updated simultaneously), privacy (access can be based on granted permission), consensus (all parties on the blockchain agree to the validity of any given transaction), and smart contracts (a computer protocol intended to enforce the transaction according to present conditions). Initial applications have been within the financial and legal communities: Financial applications such as bitcoin have provided alternative to intranet-based currency exchange, while legal applications have provided real-time updates to contract negotiations. Applications in healthcare have already been envisioned including but not limited to electronic health records. Patients and healthcare providers would have immediate access to accurate and up-to-date patient records. As such, blockchain may represent an emerging force in healthcare data management. Blockchain technology can also address key pain points in healthcare data exchange. Many of these pain points include exchange of healthcare data, including effort and trust when accessing data from multiple sources, the high cost and latency of healthcare data exchange, and the burden of traceability in clinical validation studies. Use cases identified for medical diagnostics leverage blockchain as a means to collate and create access to key medical data. There are multiple blockchain technology providers. The available technologies exhibit a tradeoff between performance and scalability, incorporate public and private models, and support permissioned and permission-less ledgers. This talk will provide an introduction and critical review of block chain technology, infrastructure and applications from the perspective of Healthcare.


I am a Professor of distributed systems in the college of engineering and technology at the University of Derby, UK. My areas of research include distributed systems and high performance analytics platforms for processing large amounts of data. I have been part of the EC funded projects in distributed systems and large scale data integration and analytics such as Health-e-Child (IP, FP6), neuGrid (STREP, FP7) and TRANSFORM (IP, FP7) where I have investigated resource management and optimization of large scale systems and provided platforms for high performance data analytics. I also secured grants from industrial partners, Innovate UK, RCUK and other funding agencies for investigating high performance video analytics platforms for producing intelligence and evidence for medical, security, object tracking and forensic science applications. I am also closely working with healthcare providers, hospitals and Pharma companies in investigating high performance analytics platforms for clinical intelligence and integration, iterative genome analytics and precision medicine. I have also been investigating large scale distributed systems and analytics platforms for the LHC data in collaboration with CERN Geneva Switzerland for the last fifteen years. Before starting an academic career, I worked for various software multinational companies for around ten years.  I am the general chair for the 10th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC 2017) being held in Austin, Texas USA from December 5-8, 2017.