keynote (Day 2)

Understanding Blockchains

Len BassLen Bass, Ph.D.

Len Bass is an award-winning author who has lectured widely around the world. His books on software architecture are standards. His new book on DevOps is, in the words of an Amazon reviewer, “the first DevOps book that shows a realistic and achievable view of the full implementation of DevOps.” He has over 50 years’ experience in software development, 25 of those at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon. He also worked for three years at NICTA in Australia and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, where he teaches a course in DevOps. His interest in DevOps is recent and a result of his association Data61 in Australia.

Abstract: Blockchains are the technology underlying the digital currencies Bitcoin and Etherium. The technology is being hyped for many different financial purposes from government issued digital currency to supply chains to identity management. 80% of banks are predicted to initiate blockchain projects by the end of this year and billions have been invested in blockchain startups.

Blockchains have appealing security and privacy characteristics. They are cryptographically secure and can support proofs of assertions such as “Person X has transferred $Y from account A to account B” without revealing the identity of person X, the amount of $Y, account A or account B.

All of this sounds much like “black magic”. In this talk, I will delve into the technology of blockchains from the perspective of a non-cryptographer and attempt to make the magic of blockchains less opaque.