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Matthew Niemerg, Ph.D.

Dr. Matthew Niemerg is the president and co-founder of , a public that uses a custom algorithm leveraging technology to create an efficient and decentralized system. [1]

Education

Dr. Niemerg received his BS in Computer Science and BA in Mathematics from Eastern Illinois University in 2008. During this time, he worked as a university math tutor and network administrator. He was also an REU participant at the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, where he researched and investigated . He then earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 2014. While there, he was a graduate teaching and research assistant until graduation. [2]

Career

Dr. Niemerg briefly worked as a visiting researcher for the National Institute of Mathematics (NIMS) in South Korea from May to August 2014. He then did a research fellowship at Simons Insititute for the Theory of Computing and The Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences until August 2015, when he did a postdoctoral visiting fellowship at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences. [3]

In March 2016, Dr. Niemerg worked at IBM, optimizing code for high-performance computing applications. He later became self-employed as a consultant and joined Helix Cognitive Computing as a scientific advisory board member. In February 2018, he became the and security advisor for OneLedger Technology Inc., a cross-chain for enterprise applications. He was also the technology lead for HardFork Entertainment, Inc. until December 2020. In October 2020, he worked as a strategic advisor for Minterest, a cross-chain decentralized money market lending protocol on Polkadot. [3]

Dr. Niemerg became CEO of Cardinal Cryptography, a team of experts in mathematics and cryptography who worked on the protocol. Around the same time, he co-founded with , , and . [3]

Interviews

Aleph Zero AMA

In an AMA hosted by the , Dr. Niemerg discussed focus on transaction privacy and scalability. He highlighted the project’s innovative use of to maintain privacy while ensuring regulatory compliance. Niemerg shared insights from his extensive experience in the space, touching on technology's evolution and the challenges early remittance businesses face. He delved into the technical aspects of , which enables rapid transaction finalization, and emphasized the importance of secure system design using advanced mathematical methods. Additionally, he addressed the legal complexities of decentralized systems and the role of , advocating for better regulatory interaction and community management. [4]

Inside Aleph Zero

In December 2023, DIA, a cross-chain developer for , interviewed Dr. Niemerg about . At the start of the interview, he discussed his background in technology: [5]

“Before I co-founded , I was at IBM. I left IBM at the height of the 2017 in November. After that, I moved into consulting, as I wasn't interested in staying in the classic corporate world. I wanted to dive more into and , which was a popular term at the time. Soon after, I was introduced to my future co-founders, and we ended up co-founding . Before all of this, I did several postdocs around the world. My background is in mathematics, not in distributed computing or cryptography. I specialized in computational mathematics and applied algebraic geometry, focusing on high-performance computing for large-scale distributed computing applications.”

“At IBM, I continued in high-performance computing but in a different direction, using GPUs. I was at Berkeley for a bit in a joint position with Tsinghua University through a fellowship awarded by the Simons Institute. Jim Simons, from Renaissance Technologies, is one of the biggest donors to both math and the sciences globally. He was one of the first hedge fund managers to use a lot of math for market analysis and predictive modeling.”

He then explained architecture and how the systems worked: [5]

“Every or protocol, every layer one, requires an order of events—a sequence of transactions occurring one after another. This is fundamental to the definition of an atomic broadcast protocol or agreement protocol. It's a necessary requirement to achieve a linear sequence of events. While we use a as an intermediary structure, the end goal remains the same for us and any other . This process results in a chain of events, a sequence occurring one after another. Initially, the structure is used, but it eventually transforms into a line—a degenerate —where all vertices can be ordered sequentially.”

“The initial beginnings of aimed to address the inefficiencies at the end of the 2017 era. While the goal was to develop a more efficient consensus protocol and a high-performance , it also involved a thoughtful approach to building the technology stack. Many projects lacked a deep understanding of distributed systems developed over the past four decades and often relied heavily on marketing hype rather than educational value. In a speculative market, sought a more sustainable approach, prioritizing the delivery of tangible products before innovating and building on top of the base layer and technology.”

Later in the interview, he discussed regulatory aspects and shared his views on the future of technology: [5]

“I think it's a Choose Your Own Adventure type situation. We tried to be more market-driven when making decisions, recognizing that market sentiment and industry interest change. The goal was to provide tools to make developers' lives easier. By offering general-purpose smart contract languages, developers could find their niche within various verticals. Creating infrastructure useful for general-purpose products was the first step, followed by building out infrastructure for privacy applications.”

“Whether in gaming, , or corporate applications, there are two primary categories. One focuses on the community and interests, primarily involving , speculation, , and gaming, which is more retail-focused. The other focuses on enterprise needs, such as health records, inventory management, supply chain, and provenance. Identifying these sectors as either retail and -native applications or enterprise and corporate applications is essential.”

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Matthew Niemerg, Ph.D.

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June 12, 2024

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