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加密技术成高等教育热门课程

全新的互联网金融模式其他国际资讯

加密技术成高等教育热门课程

2014年,纽约大学斯特恩商学院金融系主任David Yermack首次开设区块链和金融服务课程,当时只有35名学生报名,比学院规定的特定选修课最低门槛少8人。

2018年春季,报名人数上升至230人,学院不得不将该门课的上课地点换至最大的一间礼堂。这个学年,Yermack两个学期都会教授区块链课程以满足学生需求。

Yermack说他当年首次推出这个课程是因为他对比特币感兴趣,并且对加密货币的兴趣也在快速增加。但很快又出现了其他的理由,尤其是公司对于了解加密货币相关事务人才的需求。现在他认为他的课是学生能获取未来工作技能的一个途径。

他说:"大多数金融数据将转向基于区块链的组织,这一进程正在发生。学习这一领域的学生将受益良多。"

全世界的顶级大学中都有着类似的趋势。学生蜂拥至加密货币和区块链(支持去中心化金融体系的"分布式账本"技术)课堂,部分动力就是在这些领域有教育背景的毕业生在就业市场很吃香。

满足增长的需求

约翰霍普金斯大学开设区块链的商业课程,教授学生该项技术的安全特征以及"运用于公司和组织中这项技术的基本结构中的优势与弱点。

普林斯顿大学的学生可以学习关注安全计算机系统、加密货币、区块链和相关经济学、道德和法律问题的信息安全课程。

康奈尔大学在加密学、加密货币和区块链领域提供的课程数量最多--28门课中包括"金钱的人类学"和"区块链、加密货币以及智能合同导论",涵盖区块链、加密货币和(据课程描述)"区块链所激发的科技变化概况"。

Coinbase和Qriously联合调查的50个大学中,有一半开设至少一门密码学的课程,密码学是学习创建并破解加密信息的学科,是区块链和加密货币的关键技术基础。

加利福尼亚大学伯克利分校计算机科学教授Dawn Song在谈到密码学、博弈论和分布式系统时说:"区块链中使用的技术并不新,这些领域中的研究早就开始了。"

斯坦福大学今夏设立了区块链研究中心,各个系别的老师和学生一起研究加密货币和区块链的不同方面。

斯坦福大学计算机科学和电子工程教授兼中心联合主任说每一次他和新的一群在中心的人聊天之后就能获得三个新研究想法。

他说:"项目参与者会提出一些新的技术问题,这些问题没有他们我们是不会想到的。"

其他工科有优势的顶尖大学也在增加以区块链为中心的课程和项目。厄巴纳香槟地区的滑铁卢大学、乔治敦大学和伊利诺伊大学就是其中几所。

Song在伯克利2018年春季学期和另一名老师一起教授"区块链、加密货币、科技的未来、商业和法律"课程。这门课程是该学校计算机科学、商学院和法学院的合作课程,从每个学院招收同等数量的学生。

Song说这门课"十分受欢迎",因为教室只能容纳70人,另有200多名学生不得不被拒之门外。

加密货币和区块链相关的教育中,跨学科系别可能会成为一大主流,因为现在提供相关课程的学科系别数量很多。Coinbase的分析发现,这50所大学中共172门相关课程,其中15%由商学院、经济、金融和法学院开设,4%在社会科学学院比如人类学、历史和政治科学。

Harvey说学生认识到这种知识现在有多么需要。

Harvey说:"如果你从法学院毕业,现在就业市场并不好。但是有区块链教育背景的法律学生根本不用投简历。雇主排着队让想要招徕他们。"

学生的看法

这份由Coinbase委托Qriously开展的针对675名美国学生的调查显示,各个领域的学生对加密货币和区块链都很有兴趣。社会科学专业的学生(47%)比计算机科学和工科的学生(34%)更对学习加密货币感兴趣。

调查发现,17%的计算机科学和工科专业学生、15%的经济学和数学专业学生、11%的商学专业学生和5%的社会科学专业学生已经参加了一门关注加密货币和区块链的课程。

在所有受调查的学生中,17%说他们认为加密货币和区块链相关的知识非常好,而整体人口中只有9%这么认为。18%的学生说他们拥有(或拥有过)加密货币,比总体人口中的比例多了一倍。

四分之一的学生说他们绝对会选择一门关注加密货币或区块链的课程。

斯坦福加密货币领域博士研究生Benedikt Bünz说现在学生中间(对此)有着极大的兴趣。

他攻读人工智能硕士学位的时候上了一门加密货币课。那么课程激发了他对于加密货币的兴趣,为他博士学位的研究奠定了方向。

经常有人请Bünz推荐有加密货币知识的求职者,但需求太旺,他认识的所有符合要求的人都已经有工作了。

他说:"如今,如果你是加密货币和密码学的专家,你想找不到工作是很困难的。"

前景展望

现在没有在大学学习的人也有很多选择可以学习加密相关领域。在线学习网站如Udemy, Coursera, edX和Udacity提供几百门课程,包括基础密码学的通识课程和区块链以及加密货币的更专精的课程。

这些课程有各式专家,包括一些来自于前5-大学的教授或是这些领域的从业者。比如Coinbase首席科技官Balaji S. Srinivasan就是Udacity微学位项目"成为一名区块链开发者"的行业专家之一。这个项目有两个学期,每个学期三个月,致力于"手把手教授工作必备技能。"

学术界并不总是快速适应改变。但教授们说区块链和加密货币的成熟以及公司和其他组织过去几年内对两者的运用已清晰表明,这是一个可能将有广泛影响的领域。这就是为什么各大高校都认真对待。

杜克大学的Harvey说:"你需要帮助你的学生为将来做好准备,区块链一直会在。"

Coinbase regularly engages with students and universities across the country as part of recruiting efforts. They partnered with Qriously to ask students directly about their thoughts on crypto and blockchain — and in this report, they outline findings on the growing roster of crypto and blockchain courses amid a steady rise in student interest.

When David Yermack, the finance department chair at New York University Stern School of Business, first offered his course on blockchain and financial services in 2014, 35 students signed up, eight fewer than the school’s typical elective.

By spring 2018, the number of enrolled students climbed to 230, forcing Stern to move the class to its largest auditorium. This academic year, Yermack will teach the blockchain course both semesters to meet interest from students.

Yermack says he first developed the class because he was interested in bitcoin and how quickly interest in the cryptocurrency was growing. But other reasons soon emerged, notably demand from companies for people who understood cryptocurrency-related issues. Now, he sees his class as a way to give students the skills they’ll need for jobs in the future.

“A process is well underway that will lead to the migration of most financial data to blockchain-based organizations,” he says. “Students will benefit greatly by studying this area.”

Similar scenes are playing out at top universities around the world. Students are flocking to classes on cryptocurrency and blockchain — the “distributed ledger” technology that makes decentralized financial systems work — motivated in part by a hot job market for graduates with training in those fields.

Universities, in turn, are forming research centers and adding more crypto-related courses, in part to meet rising demand and also because they now see cryptocurrency as an area worthy of serious academic study.

42 % of the top 50 universities offer at least one class on blockchain or cryptocurrency

Coinbase reviewed course catalogs at the top 50 universities and found cryptocurrency classes across a variety of departments, including anthropology and finance — not only computer science.

In fact, the rise in offerings across disciplines maps to student interest: Students with a diverse set of majors say they’d like to take cryptocurrency classes, according to a Coinbase survey conducted in partnership with Qriously. Nearly half of all social science majors expressed interest in taking a crypto class.

One possible reason for such diverse interest in blockchain is its potential to impact society across many domains.

Dawn Song, a computer science professor at University of California, Berkeley says,

“Blockchain combines theory and practice and can lead to fundamental breakthroughs in many research areas. It can have really profound and broad-scale impacts on society in many different industries.”

To assess the current landscape of cryptocurrency in higher education, Coinbase analyzed the courses at the world’s top 50 universities as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Our study focused on classes available to undergraduate-level students in the fall 2018 semester or the most recent semester for which information was available online.

The analysis found that 42 percent of the top 50 universities offer at least one class on blockchain or cryptocurrency, and 22 percent offer more than one. Expanding the results to include longstanding foundational classes on cryptography, 70 percent of universities offer at least one crypto-related class.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency courses are most prominent in the U.S. Only five of the 18 international universities on the list, or 27 percent, offer at least one class on blockchain or cryptocurrency. And only two — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and National University of Singapore — offer more than one.

Meeting Rising Demand

Johns Hopkins University offers a business course on blockchain, where students learn about its security features and “the potential benefits and weaknesses of its fundamental structure as applied to businesses and organizations,” according to the school’s course catalog.

At Princeton, students can take an information-security class focused on secure computing systems, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and related economics, ethics, and legal issues.

Cornell offers the highest number of classes when including cryptography, cryptocurrency, or blockchain. The 28 courses include “Anthropology of Money” and “Introduction to Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, and Smart Contracts,” which covers the cryptocurrency bitcoin and “the technological landscape it has inspired and catalyzed,” according to the course description.

More than half of the universities analyzed offer at least one class on cryptography, the study of creating and solving coded messages and a key technical foundation for blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

“The techniques used in blockchain aren’t necessarily new,” says Song, as it draws on areas such as cryptography, game theory, and distributed systems. These are areas “where research and even education has been around for a really long time.”

Stanford launched its Center for Blockchain Research this summer to bring together students and faculty from across the school’s departments to work on various aspects of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Dan Boneh, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford University and co-director of the center, said that every time he talks with a new team in the group he finds himself walking away with three new research ideas.

“There are new technical questions being raised by blockchain projects that we would not work on otherwise,”

he says.

Other leading universities that are known for strong engineering programs are adding courses and programs centered around blockchain, too. The University of Waterloo, Georgetown University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are among those expanding their research and course offerings.

Branching Out

At Berkeley, Song co-taught a course in the spring semester of 2018 on “Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law.” It was a collaboration between the school’s computer science, business, and law schools and admitted an equal number of students from each school.

Song says the course was “hugely popular,” noting that the instructors had to turn away more than 200 students because their classroom only had a 70-student capacity.

That interdepartmental approach may emerge as a hallmark of cryptocurrency and blockchain education, given the number of departments that are currently offering classes on the subject. Coinbase’s analysis found that of the 172 classes listed by the top 50 universities, 15 percent were offered by business, economics, finance, and law departments, and four percent were in social science departments such as anthropology, history, and political science.

Harvey says students recognize how in-demand this kind of knowledge is now.

“If you’re graduating from law school it’s a tough market these days,” Harvey says. “However, the law students that are trained in blockchain, they don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms.”

Student View

Among students, interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain cuts across fields. In fact, more social science majors — 47 percent — said they were interested in learning about cryptocurrency than computer science and engineering majors — 34 percent — according to a survey of 675 U.S. students commissioned by Coinbase and conducted by Qriously.

The survey found that 17 percent of computer science and engineering majors have already taken a course that focuses on cryptocurrency and blockchain, as have 15 percent of economics and math majors and 11 percent of business majors. Just five percent of social science majors have taken such a course, the survey found.

Among all students surveyed, 17 percent said they consider their knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain very good, compared to just nine percent of the general population surveyed at the same time. Similarly, 18 percent of students said they own (or have owned) cryptocurrency, twice the rate of the general population.

A quarter of all students said they would definitely or probably take a course focused on cryptocurrency or blockchain.

“There’s tremendous excitement”among students right now, says Benedikt Bünz, a doctoral student at Stanford focusing on cryptocurrencies.

Bünz was pursuing a master’s degree in artificial intelligence when he took a cryptography class. That sparked his interest in cryptocurrencies, setting the direction for his doctoral degree.

People often approach Bünz asking if he’d be able to recommend someone with knowledge of cryptocurrencies for a job, he says, but the high demand means all the candidates he knows already have positions secured.

These days, he says,

“if you’re an expert in cryptocurrencies and cryptography you’ll have a difficult time not finding a job.”

Looking Ahead

There are also plenty of options for people not currently enrolled at a university to learn more about crypto. Online learning sites like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Udacity offer hundreds of courses, including general lessons in foundational cryptography and more specialized classes on blockchain and cryptocurrency.

These classes draw on a range of experts, including professors from some of the top 50 global universities and practitioners in the field. For instance, Coinbase Chief Technology Officer Balaji S. Srinivasan is one of several industry experts featured as part of the Udacity nanondegree program called “Become a Blockchain Developer.” The program has two three-month terms and is focused on “mastering job-ready skills with a hands-on approach.”

Academia isn’t known for moving quickly. But professors say that the maturation of blockchain and cryptocurrency and their adoption by businesses and other groups over the last few years has made it clear that it’s a field with the potential for wide-ranging impact. And that’s causing universities to take it seriously.

“You need to prepare your students for the future,” Duke’s Harvey says, and “blockchain is not going away."

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