À la Une

Soutenance de thèse Arbër Salihi


M. Arbër Salihi soutiendra en anglais, en vue de l'obtention du grade de docteur ès sciences de la société, mention systèmes d'information, sa thèse intitulée:

Abstracting Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT): A Service based Framework enabling Distributed Trust Application Design and Integration

Date: Mercredi 6 avril 2022 à 14h30

Lieu: Battelle A, FacLab rez-de-chaussée


Jury : 

  • Prof. Jean-Henry MORIN, directeur de thèse, Université de Genève 
  • Prof. Giovanna DI MARZO SERUGENDO, présidente du jury, Université de Genève 
  • Prof. Nathalie BRENDER, Geneva School of Business Administration HES-SO et University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland 
  • Prof. Dimitri KONSTANTAS, Université de Genève 
  • Prof. Claudio TESSONE, UZH Blockchain Center, University of Zurich 


While trust plays a fundamental role in the stability of our economy and society, it has been under heavy pressure over the past few decades. Distributed ledger technology is an emerging protocol-based sociotechnical paradigm enabling decentralized trust among a network of participants. By challenging the traditional approaches based on trusted third parties, distributed ledger technology holds the potential of a drastic change in many areas where trust needs to be informed rather than blindly accepted. However, as with many emerging technologies, limitations and problems limit its broad adoption.

Research and industry initiatives address several of these issues, but often with varying objectives. In this context, the problem of abstracting distributed ledger technology represents today a major challenge that should be addressed in priority. The inherent complexity of the technology related to its underlying components, combined with the proliferation of heterogeneous platforms, lies at the heart of this research. In practice, this complexity results in increased difficulty for users to understand the constituents of the technology, reduced interoperability with existing information systems, high maintenance costs and, more generally, in an increase in business and technical risks associated with the use of blockchain platforms. Ultimately, these problems represent a real technology rejection risk in the long run.

This dissertation addresses the question of abstracting the technical complexity and platform heterogeneity of distributed ledger technology to enable better design and integration of applications based on distributed trust. Three particular aspects are considered. First, what are the key elements of distributed ledger technology that should be part of a generic abstraction. Second, assuming such an abstraction, what challenges and requirements must be met to reduce complexity and strengthen technology adoption. Finally, how does a service-oriented approach to a blockchain based framework enable better integration in organizations and in enterprise information systems in particular.

The design of a framework is proposed in the form of a service-oriented architecture coupled with an abstraction and complexity reduction layer dedicated to distributed ledger technology. In order to demonstrate the approach of the proposed conceptual model and the designed framework, a prototype is provided as a reference implementation. It is instantiated in the context of audit and control professions within a research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Ultimately, this work is part of an effort to help stabilize and sustain distributed ledger technology towards broader adoption in organizations and in particular within enterprise information systems. Finally, technology agnostic, distributed trust blockchain based business process reengineering represents a promising opportunity to be further investigated and confirmed based on this framework.