Advisory Board

Dr. Trent McConaghy

Trent McConaghy, Ph.D. is the Founder and CTO at Ocean Protocol and BigchainDB. He works with the IPDB Network & IPDB Foundation, COALA IP protocol, and serves as an advisor to the Estonian E-residency program.

He did AI research for two decades, including machine creativity and AI to help drive Moore’s Law. For the last several years he has worked on blockchain, focusing on democratizing data via the Ocean Protocol decentralized substrate for AI data & services. He has also worked on the BigchainDB decentralized database, trying to make the opportunities and benefits in AI more equal and ensuring that humanity has a role in an increasingly autonomous world.

Ocean is a decentralized substrate for AI data & services. Society is becoming increasingly reliant on data, especially with the advent of AI. A small handful of organizations like Facebook and Google, with both massive data assets and AI capabilities, have attained worrying levels of control which could be a danger to a free and open society.

Ocean aims to unlock data, for more equitable outcomes for the users of that data. With help of the community they are committed to kickstarting a New Data Economy that reaches every single person, company, and device, giving power back to data owners and enabling people to capture value from data to better our world.

Trent has 20 years of deep technology experience with a focus on machine learning, data visualization, and user experience. He started his career as an undergraduate by doing AI research for the Canadian Department of Defense in the late 1990s before founding in 1999 his first startup, Analog Design Automation (ADA), that explored creative AI, and was its CTO until its acquisition by Synopsys.

In 2004, he cofounded Solido Design Automation, once again in the role of CTO. They leveraged AI to help drive Moore’s Law, which was under threat due to high manufacturing variations and they published their work in the book Variation-Aware Design of Custom Integrated Circuits: A Hands-on Field Guide. Their product is now used in most modern chip designs. Solido was acquired by Siemens in 2017.

In 2013, Trent cofounded the company Ascribe to help compensate creators in the digital era via IP on the blockchain. There was however still a lot of blockchain infrastructure problems, in terms of scaling, user experience, interoperability, and security. This led Trent to build BigchainDB, a blockchain database. In all of these changes, he never forgot Ascribe and of helping creators and protecting personal data (IP). These principles led him to start the Ocean Protocol project in 2017. Ocean is a decentralized substrate to democratize AI training data & services. This means it has mechanisms for claiming copyright and subsequent licensing.

BigchainDB instances will likely be among the services that users can find on the Ocean network, which will link to many other complementary services for data and compute, such as SingularityNET.

Trent earned his Ph.D. in Engineering from KU Leuven, Belgium. He extended the work from ADA during his Ph.D. from 2004 to 2008 and found a way to reconcile machine creativity with existing engineering knowledge. He was awarded the #1 thesis worldwide in the field.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering and in Computer Science from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada where he won awards for the top #1 final year undergraduate thesis.

He advises Estonia, Germany, and other governments about blockchain and AI strategies. He is an ambassador to the AI XPRIZE, coorganizes the Berlin Machine Learning meetup with more than 5 thousand members, and is regularly invited for keynotes and talks, among others TedX, DLD, Consensus, Convoco Forum, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Berkeley, Santa Fe Institute, Jet Propulsion Lab, Sony, Nvidia, Samsung, IFA+ Summit, PyData Berlin, Data Natives, and more.

He has written two books on machine learning, creativity, and circuit design, Variation-Aware Analog Structural Synthesis: A Computational Intelligence Approach and Variation-Aware Design of Custom Integrated Circuits: A Hands-on Field Guide, and has authored or coauthored more than 40 papers and 20 patents.

He coorganizes workshops on Machine Learning and circuits is a reviewer for many conferences & journals and is a lecturer at Data Science Retreat.

He also organized a meetup on Singularity Meets Self Improvement and in his free time likes to paint, hack, do hypnosis, program video games, and surf. He was raised in a pig farm in Canada, hacking away on cold winter nights learning 3D CAD tool.

Trent deleted his Facebook and LinkedIn accounts in spite of People Farming by big Corporations, like Facebook.

Listen to the podcast Hey Zuck, Let’s Tokenize Facebook! at The Blockchain and US with Trent talking about How Blockchain Could Stop People Farming. Among other topics, he talks about creating a data economy with Ocean Protocol, bringing artificial intelligence to the blockchain, how Facebook could tokenize itself to melt into the user community, smart decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), how DAOs could provide universal basic income (UBI), Estonia’s blockchain initiatives, Berlin as a blockchain hub, and much more.

Watch AI FOR GOOD 2019 INTERVIEWS: Trent McConaghy, Founder, Ocean Protocol. Read the interview with Trent at Humans of Blockchain and Deep Dive with Trent at Token Daily.

Trent gave a presentation at infoShare 2018, talking about A Decentralized Substrate for AI Data & Services and about the process of creating the company Ocean. One of the important realizations here is that Tokenized Ecosystems are a lot like Evolutionary Algorithms.

Watch Trent giving a sneak-peek into Ocean Protocol’s product release. Watch Trent at DLD Conference 2018, talking about Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain.

Listen to Trent on Crypto Radio and at The BlockChain Guy, talking about the relationship between artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and democratizing data.

Read his contributions at Brave New Coin (BNC), at BigChainDB, The Blockchain, and at Experfy.

Visit his Google Scholar profile, Crunchbase, and dplp profile. Follow him on his Ocean Protocol Blog, GitHub, and Twitter.