Videos of OATS Sessions on Python, Blockchain, and Rural Networking Now Available

Digital Education

Videos of OATS Sessions on Python, Blockchain, and Rural Networking Now Available

By Andrew Balmos, Software/Data Engineer, Purdue’s Open Ag Technologies and Systems (OATS) Center

Purdue University's Open Ag Systems and Technologies (OATS) center made three educational presentations at the 2019 Annual Conference in November. These presentations covered a variety of topics such as: data wrangling in Python; the when, why, and how around Blockchain; a new OATS invention called oblivious smart contracts; and the need for a new take on rural networking that leverages peer-to-peer networks and embraces the dynamics of such a network. All of the sessions were recorded and are available to the entire AgGateway network here.

Data wrangling in Python 3.0

Over two sessions Professor James V. Krogmeier went from the very basics of the Python 3.0 language to generating visualizations of real GPS and ISOBus data collected by an ISOBlue ( device during harvest. The tutorial was created in a Jupyter notebook and everything is released open source. Recordings of the session and a link to follow along with Jupyter notebook are posted on the AgGateway website.

Blockchain and oblivious smart contracts

Aaron Ault presented an intuitive and interactive tool for understanding the fundamental workings of a blockchain and presented clear guidelines on whether your problem would benefit from such a system or not.

Additionally, Aaron presented an OATS innovation that allows for a new paradigm in certification, privacy, and data sharing: an Oblivious Smart Contract (OSC). Purdue computer science student Servio Palacios (also an AgGateway and Fulbright grantee) invented Oblivious Smart Contracts (OSC) utilizing a novel mix of blockchain technologies, trusted execution environments, and the Trellis framework. OSC's are similar to traditional blockchain-based smart contracts in that they have a codebase approved by both the auditor and the auditee. However, in contrast to typical smart contracts that move data to the code that certifies it, the verified OSC code is shipped to the data to be run where the data is, by the data owner – providing both the regulator and data owner guarantees that neither the data or the code was altered while requiring only the code's output to be shared. This output is called a "Private Automated Certification". Check out the video for more details!

Rural networking

OATS student and Purdue Agriculture Research and Graduate Education staff Andrew Balmos presented a new way of thinking about agriculture networks that leverage available rural broadband when it can, but doesn't depend on it. A dynamic collection of a machine-to-machine and machine-to-sensor networks, combined with a store-and-forward algorithm can help solve rural agriculture IoT connectivity issues. It does so by moving data from rural to populated as the farm's vehicles move about during normal operations. The talk expands on these ideas, but the project is still an active research project. We encourage you to reach out if you are interested in engaging in some way.

Purdue Testbeds

Purdue has and continues to develop state-of-the-art farming testbeds that are open and available to anyone that needs to develop, test and prove a new technology, method, or anything agriculturally related. Purdue has hundreds of acres of test plot farming fully covered by WiFi and LoRa with high bandwidth backhauls to campus; they also have traditional grain, forage and specialty crop farms with and without cell, WiFi and LoRa covering about every scenario that one would want for tests including livestock operations. Additionally, the testbeds provide convenient access and mechanisms to partner with Purdue researchers, students and other test bed uses.

For example, currently hosted at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) test bed is the phenomobile, an automated crop scanning gantry, and highly instrumented grain bins. Microsoft is currently working toward testing their FarmBeats platform and potentially a whitespaces radio. The Wabash Hartland Innovation Network (WHIN) has provided resources to grow the testbed as well as installed various IoT sensors within Purdue's farm network, such as Solinftec telematics and Davis weather station networks as part of the WHIN Data Alliance. Tests of connectivity paradigms are also underway.

Projects of all scopes and requirements (by connectivity, crop, land area, etc.) are welcome. We have interaction plans that work for testing that will result in open/public data sets and can also work with IP restrictions and confidentiality. Please contact Bernie Engel, Associate Dean and Director of Agricultural Research and Graduate Education, for more information.