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美国名校争相开设加密货币课程,报名人数已破百万

在过去的一年时间里,比特币的价格增长近9倍,而以太坊的价格涨幅也达到了27倍。今年至少诞生了成千上百中新币,大量新项目的涌现通过代币发行的形式募集了数千万甚至是上亿美元的资金。而加密货币则是采用密码学来确保交易安全并追踪数字货币的转移。

斯坦福大学计算机安全实验室主任以及密码学教授Dan Boneh表示,安全和密码学是斯坦福大学计算机科学系最受欢迎的科目之一,仅次于机器学习。

Boneh本人学习密码学已经近30年的时间了,他认为加密货币是教授密码学的最佳方式。另外密码学还有大量的应用场景是以前不存在的。

Boneh从2015年开始教有关比特币和加密货币的课程,随后迅速吸引了100多位学生。Boneh说,已经有100万人报名参加他在Coursera上开设的在线密码学课程。

在美国匹兹堡,卡内基梅隆大学的Vipul Goyal正在用Boneh的线上互动教材授课,这个密码学专题研究是这所大学今年才刚刚推出的课程。选择这个以区块链和加密货币为基础的课程的学生大约有20人,大部分都计划读博。

这一趋势不仅仅出现在上述这两所大学:加州大学伯克利分校从去年开始就推出了加密货币课程;另外,2015年麻省理工大学的媒体实验室发起了数字货币项目。

卡内基梅隆大学的Goyal在今年1月进入学术界之前曾花了7年的时间在印度的微软研究院探索新型的云加密技术。

他近期帮助成立了卡内基梅隆大学密码学小组,旨在培养研究生并且拜访那些精通密码学的学院以开始研究项目。这个密码学小组的另一个全职教授是Manuel Bloom,他曾因自己密码学方面的成就在1995年获得了图灵奖。

Goyal说,他喜欢想象所有能够在区块链上存储并转移的数据形式。他提到,前两代区块链是以比特币和以太坊为中心的,但这一技术的应用领域不仅限于金融和货币行业。

Boneh和Goyal都认为是加密货币的爆发性发展以及比特币和以太坊价格的增长吸引了越来越多的学生进入这一领域,有些甚至会开展自己的项目。

Boneh表示,目前进行中的试验有很多,就像其它初创生态系统一样,有些项目能够顺利进行而另一些则会失败。

正如Mark Zuckerberg从哈佛退学创办了Facebook、Evan Spiegel离开斯坦福成立了Snap那样,Goyal认为,有些学生会放弃自己的学业以便尽早开始在加密货币领域创业。

不过鉴于加密资产的管理形式,这一代的学生与社交网络和移动app时代的创业者相比具有显著优势。Goyal说:

如果你想要开发一个移动app,你可能需要通过投资公司募集资金。而在加密货币领域,如果你开始创业,只要有人对你的项目感兴趣,你就能从你创造的价值中获得资金。

Cryptocurrencies are surging in value, and university students want in on the action.

In the past year, the price of bitcoin has multiplied by almost nine-fold, while ethereum is up about 27-fold. Hundreds of other currencies have emerged this year, and new projects are raising tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in coin and token offerings. Cryptocurrencies use cryptography to secure transactions and track the transfer of digital money.

"A lot of people are attracted to the huge valuations in these currencies," said Dan Boneh, co-director of the Stanford Computer Security Lab and a professor of cryptography.

Boneh said that security and cryptography represent the second-most popular subject in the university's computer science department, behind only machine learning.

"Cryptocurrencies are a wonderful way to teach cryptography" said Boneh, who's been studying cryptography for almost three decades. Beyond that, "there are a whole bunch of new applications for cryptography that didn't exist before," he said.

In 2015, Boneh began teaching a class on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and was quickly attracting over 100 students. Boneh said that more than 1 million people have signed up for an online cryptography class he teaches through the website Coursera.

Across the country in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon's Vipul Goyal is using Boneh's interactive online textbook for a class called Special Topics in Cryptography that the school is offering for the first time this year. About 20 students, mostly PhD candidates, are taking the class, which focuses on blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The trend is not just limited to these two universities: the University of California at Berkeley launched a class last year called the Cryptocurrency Decal, and in 2015 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab established the Digital Currency Initiative.

`Some will do well and some will fail'

Caregie Mellon's Goyal spent seven years at Microsoft Research in India, where he was working on new kinds of cloud encryption, before hopping to academia in January.

He recently helped start the CMU Crypto group, an effort to lure graduate students and visiting faculty with an expertise in cryptography to take on research projects. The other full-time professor in the group is Manuel Bloom, who won the Turing Award in 1995 for his work in cryptography.

Goyal said he likes to imagine many forms of data that could be stored and transferred on blockchain. The first two generations of blockchain, he said, were centered around bitcoin and ethereum, but the technology is poised to move well beyond finance and money.

"The big question in my mind is, 'Can blockchain and cryptocurrencies replace the cloud completely?'" he said.

Boneh and Goyal both said that the explosive growth of cryptocurrencies and the prices of bitcoin and ethereum are luring many students to the field and to, in some cases, start their own projects.

"There are many experiments underway and just like in the rest of the start-up ecosystem, some will do well and some will fail," Boneh said.

Just as Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to start Facebook and Evan Spiegel left Stanford early to build Snap, Goyal expects to see students abandoning their academic work in favor of getting in early at a crypto start-up.

But depending on how and when crypto assets get regulated, this generation of students could have a distinct advantage over the era of social network and mobile app creators.

"If you want to start a mobile app, you probably need some investor funding," Goyal said. "For cryptocurrencies, if you start your own and if people are interested, you automatically get funded by the value of what you created."


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  • c
    carryfull在 2017/11/03 09:45回复

    Coursera上面的区块链课程就很好。

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