Recently IBM and LICT Bangladesh jointly arranged Blockchain & Ai workshop for Young Bangladeshi developers to enhance their knowledge on these latest technologies. Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence is the most buzzing technologies in the tech world. Developers around the world are constantly building new tech products using these technologies. In order to keep pace with the latest technologies, LICT joined hands with IBM to make the young developers of Bangladesh expert in BlockChain and Artificial Intelligence under the Digital Bangladesh Project. They arranged the workshop in three phases starting from May 11 to June 20 (2019). Developers from five different tech companies in Bangladesh joined the workshops and developed a project based on their knowledge in Blockchain and Ai. These five organizations are- Brain Station 23, Bangladesh National Digital Architecture (BNDA), Leads, Genex and Devnet. 

Let me give you a detailed overview of the workshops based on the experience of the participants.

Workshop Phase 1 (May 11 – May 16)

May 11: On the first day of the workshop IBM discussed their plans on creating a Center of Excellence and collaborating with LICT to promote upcoming technologies in Bangladesh. They discussed their AI development plan using technologies like IBM Watson, and they discussed Blockchain development in hyper ledger Fabric using IBM Cloud. The rest of the day was mostly basic knowledge discussion session of how Hyper ledger Fabric system works along with QA to bring everyone up to the per in terms of knowledge of IBM’s blockchain. 

May 12: The first part of the day was registration in IBM cloud, how to create a basic NodeJS cloud foundry app and deployment of apps using IBM Cloud CLI. The Center of Excellence account creation, adding team members to the services created for each company, followed by setups. The rest of the day was about getting started with IBM Blockchain, using their Starter plan to deploy a 2 PEER sample network, downloading and checking out Fabric samples for their version 1.2.

May 13: The whole day was about setting up the interaction with the blockchain from the participant’s IDE, and individual team discussions with IBM team to lay out their POC’s core features. The session was mostly to determine the participants, payloads, and assets of their project. During this time the participants got time to start designing a smart contract for the system.

May 14: Mostly writing and testing with different features of the smart contract and updating the blockchain to newer versions by installing the tested chain codes. While the devs were tasked with the designs, the spoks (leads) of each team participated in sessions with the IBM team to present their slides and developed system architecture so far.

May 15: The participants finished finalizing their smart contract, and had the basic UI of the client application ready. They presented the finalized architecture and smart contracts developed to the IBM team, and also discussed the features of the client app. Started API application development with samples provided by IBM.

May 16: Sessions were shorter as it was the last day of the first phase of the workshop. The first part of the day was mostly a discussion of the upcoming features of the version 1.4.1 and enhancements that IBM was working on at the moment. After that they showed how to convert a middleware to provide API’s to the client app could be modified and uploaded as a Cloud Foundry app to IBM cloud, and alternative microservice approaches.

Inbetween: Between workshop phase 1 and phase 2, the participants had Webex meetings twice a week until before the Eid holidays with IBM’s Yogendra and Sashi. The meetings were mostly updates on how each team is progressing so far, discussion on possible improvements in the payloads and chain code, and Sashi helped to set the NodeJS app in the IBM cloud with correct authorization features setup provided by the cloud. 

Workshop Phase 2 (June 10 – June 12)

June 10: Phase 2 started with the discussion on what each team has done so far after the first workshop and Finalizing of the documentation and instructions on how to create a demo for the final demonstration. The participants also worked with API integration in the NodeJS app they have developed so far. A discussion on client UI features and problems faced with IBM cloud also took place.

June 11: IBM sits with each of the individual blockchain teams and discusses the core features of the client app they want to see in the final presentation. Demo presentation of the system architecture and client application’s core features were given by the participants. The rest of the team worked on debugging errors when pushing blocks after chain code changes to the IBM cloud. The participants also had a QA session later in the afternoon to finalize the core features required to start working with the new version from scratch. 

June 12: Final day of the workshop. The day started off mostly with the discussion of prices and core hardware requirements both provided by IBM cloud required for on-premise setup for a client. After that dev team mostly resolved all chain code errors and finalized the primary API’s. Tested successfully block instantiation in the blockchain using the NodeJS app and Postman to the IBM cloud. In the meantime, a 2-hour long session was held with the core LICT members, IBM team and lead persons of each team to provide full presentations and QA sessions of POCs.

Workshop Phase 3 (June 18 – June 20)

June 18 – Jun 19: During the last phase of the workshop IBM helped mostly with debugging and problem resolving for those teams who were still behind with the integration of the client app with the blockchain. 

June 20: Day of the final presentation. The ceremony was opened with speeches from government officials, chairman of BACCO and Gaurav, the VP of IBM India branches R&D and other sectors. After that the presentation of the 5 POCs in the order: BNDA, Leads, Brain Station 23, Genex, DevNet took place. Once the presentation and demo were over, the certification ceremony took place followed by a photo session. IBM also requested the participants to keep in touch with them and to email them if any help is required.

In the workshop, Three organizations ( Brain Station 23, Leads, BNDA) worked with blockchain technology and the other two teams (Genex, Devnet) worked with AI technology.  

Team Brain Station 23 was one of the most appreciated teams in the workshop for their expertise in blockchain technology. They finished their POC during the second phase of the workshop without any extra help from the IBM team and the presentation also got much appreciation.