Seminar on Blockchain Technology: Myths, Reality and Applications

Thursday, January 23, 2020 (10 am – 12.15 pm)

Dr. C. Mohan

IBM Fellow (IBM Almaden Research Center, USA) &
Distinguished Visiting Professor (Tsinghua University, China)


It has been a decade since the concept of blockchain was invented as the underlying core data structure of the permissionless or public Bitcoin cryptocurrency network. Since then, several cryptocurrencies, and associated concepts like tokens and ICOs have emerged. After much speculation and hype, significant number of them have become problematic or worthless, even though some countries have embraced them! The permissionless blockchain system Ethereum emerged by generalizing the use of blockchains to manage any kind of asset, be it physical or purely digital, with the introduction of the concept of Smart Contracts. Over the years, numerous myths have developed with respect to the purported utility and the need for permissionless blockchains. The adoption and further adaptation of blockchains and smart contracts for use in the permissioned or private environments is what I consider to be useful and of practical consequence. Hence, the technical aspects of only private blockchain systems will be the focus of my talk. Along the way, I will bust many myths associated with permissionless blockchains. I will also compare traditional database technologies with blockchain systems’ features and identify desirable future research topics. I will also discuss some applications of blockchain technology that I consider meaningful. Extensive blockchain related collateral of mine can be found at

Speaker Bio:

Dr. C. Mohan is currently an IBM Fellow at the IBM Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in China. He joined IBM Research (San Jose, California) in 1981 where he worked until May 2006 on several topics in the areas of database, workflow and transaction management. From June 2006, he worked as the IBM India Chief Scientist, based in Bangalore, with responsibilities that relate to serving as the executive technical leader of IBM India within and outside IBM. In February 2009, at the end of his India assignment, Mohan resumed his research activities at IBM Almaden. Mohan is the primary inventor of the well-known ARIES family of database recovery and concurrency control methods, and the industry-standard Presumed Abort commit protocol. He was named an IBM Fellow, IBM’s highest technical position, in 1997 for being recognized worldwide as a leading innovator in transaction management.

In 2009, he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE). He received the 1996 ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award in recognition of his innovative contributions to the development and use of database systems. In 2002, he was named an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow. At the 1999 International Conference on Very Large Data Bases, he was honored with the 10 Year Best Paper Award for the widespread commercial, academic and research impact of his ARIES work which has been extensively covered in textbooks and university courses. From IBM, Mohan has received 2 Corporate and 8 Outstanding Innovation/Technical Achievement Awards. He is an inventor on 50 patents and was named an IBM Master Inventor in 1997. Mohan works very closely with numerous IBM product and research groups, and his research results are implemented in numerous IBM and non-IBM prototypes and products like DB2, MQSeries, WebSphere, Informix, Cloudscape, Lotus Notes, Microsoft SQLServer and System Z Parallel Sysplex. He is currently focused on Blockchain, Big Data and HTAP technologies (

For over 2 years, he has been an evangelist for permissioned blockchains and the myth buster of permissionless blockchains. Recently, the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA) of India has invited him to be an honorary adviser for its blockchain and other projects. Since August 2016, he has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University. He has been on the advisory board of IEEE Spectrum and has been an editor of VLDB Journal, and Distributed and Parallel Databases. He is currently a member of the Academy Leadership Team of the IBM Academy of Technology. In the past, he has been a member of IBM’s Research Management Council (RMC), IBM’s Technical Leadership Team (TLT), IBM India’s Senior Leadership Team, the Bharti Technical Advisory Council, the Academic Senate of the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Bangalore and the Steering Council of IBM’s Software Group Architecture Board. Mohan received his PhD in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. In 2003, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras from which he received a B.Tech. in chemical engineering in 1977. Mohan is a frequent speaker in North America, Europe and Asia, and has given talks in 40 countries. He is very active on social media and has a huge following. More information can be found in the Wikipedia page at


A limited number of seats are available for external participants to be offered on a first-come-first-served basis. There is no participation fee, but registration is a must. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to by 5 pm on January 17, 2020, with subject “BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY SEMINAR REGISTRATION”. The following details would be required: your name, your official email, your mobile phone number, organization name, organization website, nature of organization (academic/startup/bank/enterprise), your role / designation in organization. You will receive an email confirmation of acceptance / rejection of your registration by January 21, 2020.