Runtime Verification and IOHK Launch Virtual Machine for Blockchains

December 18, 2017         By: Payment Week

New York, New York – December 18, 2017 Runtime Verification (RV), a University of Illinois startup founded by computer science professor Grigore Rosu, and IOHK, a leading blockchain research and development company, have announced the official release of IELE, a next-generation virtual machine for the blockchain. The technology will be deployed over the coming months in Cardano, a top ten cryptocurrency by market cap, designed and built by IOHK. IELE brings a high level of security and dependability to blockchain systems and reduces the risk of vulnerabilities that can lead to hacks.

Professor Grigore Rosu, said: “IELE is the crown jewel of our research over the past decade, combining our experience in designing and formalizing many programming languages and virtual machines, with the latest, cutting-edge research in formal semantics and program analysis and verification.

“IELE is a critical component of a large-scale research and development project funded by IOHK, whose ultimate objective is to set, by example, a high standard for the third generation of cryptocurrencies in terms of scalability, security, and programmability.”

The IOHK research and development team worked closely with RV and with several students at the University of Illinois, led by Professor Rosu, to develop IELE to the highest mathematical standards using formal methods and state-of-the-art programming language theory. IELE’s design, definition, and implementation follow a semantics-first approach to implement the verification of smart contracts.

Professor Rosu said: “Working with IOHK on this project has given us access to resources and the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the cryptography industry. With this support, we were able to build a next-generation virtual machine that will optimize and secure smart contract interactions, bringing an added level of reliability to advanced blockchain systems. We will continue to build on our achievements to optimize our virtual machine and give it additional real-world use cases.”

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK, said: “I’m incredibly proud to launch IELE in a partnership between Runtime Verification and IOHK. RV is the leader in its field and has honed its expertise through years working with NASA, Boeing, Toyota, and many others. IELE is game changing when it comes to executing smart contracts. It is highly secure, and its advanced functionality will include backwards compatibility with many programming languages.”

IELE will serve as a uniform, lower-level platform for translating and executing smart contracts from higher level languages. The technology will also make it easier to develop automated techniques that mathematically verify and prove smart contracts are correct, creating a simplified system for writing secure smart contracts. In addition, IELE will provide a uniform gas model across all programming languages, creating a general design philosophy for gas calculations. IELE was inspired by LLVM, a compiler infrastructure and collection of tools that are used to construct, optimize and produce intermediate and binary machine code. IELE is a variant of LLVM specialized to execute smart contracts on the blockchain.

In the coming months, IELE will be deployed on the Cardano blockchain to optimize Ada transactions.

For more information on IELE, visit

About IOHK:

Founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, IOHK is a technology company committed to using peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services to the three billion people who don’t have them.

IOHK is an engineering company that builds cryptocurrencies and blockchains for academic institutions, government entities and corporations. It is also a research firm with dense academic connections in Europe, America and Asia with many employees holding PhDs in Computer Science, Math or Physics. IOHK focuses on practical, peer reviewed research to create live protocols, and the technological underpinnings to next-generation cryptocurrencies.

To learn more, visit

About Runtime Verification:

Founded by Professor Grigore Rosu, Runtime Verification provides cutting-edge technology to design safe and secure systems and languages based on mathematically-grounded principles. Runtime Verification technology automatically and accurately detects the rarest, trickiest and most costly bugs lurking in existing codebases or specifications.

To learn more, visit