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Semester 1

Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers (INFR11144)







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This course is open to full year Visiting Students only, as the course is delivered in Semester 1 and examined at the end of Semester 2.

Course Summary

Blockchain technology and distributed ledgers have been hailed as a turning point in scaling information technology services at a global level. Although the digital currency Bitcoin is the best-known Blockchain application today, the technology is set to play a much broader role in cyber security. This course is an introduction to blockchain systems and distributed ledgers, the relevant cryptographic tools and smart contracts programming.

Course Description

The concept of blockchain will be covered in detail together with the supporting cryptographic technology. Questions that will be covered is why it works and what problems can it solve. Syllabus:1. Introduction to blockchain. What is a distributed ledger. Transactions. Digital Signatures.2. The consensus layer. Basic Properties. Proof of Work.3. Robust Transaction Ledgers. Properties and Objectives. Permissioned, permissionless ledgers. 4. Privacy Issues. Anonymity, Pseudonymity, Unlinkability. Zero-Knowledge Proofs.5. Scalability Issues. Byzantine agreement protocols. 6. Blockchain as a platform. Smart Contracts. 7. Secure multiparty computation techniques and their application to blockchain protocols. 8. Alternative techniques to proof of work for blockchain protocols, proof of stake/space. 9. Game theoretic analysis of blockchain protocols. 10. Name and object registries. Reputation systems. Policy issues related to blockchain.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

Additional Assessment Information

Coursework will be divided into 4 assignments. Each assignment will require short answers to questions related to taught material, as well as solving theoretical and/or programming assignments related to smart contracts and their analysis. The topic and weight of each assignment with respect to the final grade will be as follows: Assignment #1: Interacting with a Distributed Ledger and Basic Principles (20%)Assignment #2: Smart Contract Programming Part I (30%)Assignment #3: Smart Contract Programming Part II (30%)Assignment #4: Designing and deploying IT services using a distributed ledger (20%)

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