CS 786 - Fall 2018 - Selected Topics: Blockchain Protocols and Applications


Class schedule: Tuesday 1:00 - 3:50pm, Sep 04, 2018 - Dec 11, 2018; Room: CKB 215

Instructor: Qiang Tang; Email: qiang at njit.edu; Office: GITC 4204; Office hours: Tues 4pm - 6pm; Weds 5:20 pm - 6pm

Class Overview:
We will explore recent developments of the emerging blockchain technology and its applications.

A tentative list of topics includes:

Course Description
The course will involve a substantial amount of reading, presenting research papers, participation in class discussions, and a semester-long research project. Each lecture will focus on a specific topic and will be based on presentations and class discussions.

Presentation: Students are encouraged to work as a team to prepare presentations (based on papers on a related topic) and lead the discussion on the respective topic. The students are required to read the assigned papers for each week. In addition, each presenting student is responsible for submitting a report for the paper assigned for that week, which should be turned in by the weekend before the presentation. Late submission of the report would incur reduction in the presentation related score. The report must include:

  • (1) What is the problem the paper is trying to solve;
  • (2) What is the state of the art, (i.e., what is new in the paper);
  • (3) High level description how the problem is solved;
  • (4) Most interesting part and weak points;
  • (5) Possible extensions with justification.

    Course project: Students will work on the course project in teams. There is flexibility on the nature of the project: Both theoretical and system contributions will be appreciated, although all projects should have a clear relation to blockchain. The outcome of the project will be in the form of a final report, describing the design/implementation efforts. Students will present their results to the class.

    Due to the dynamic nature of this field, there is no one textbook required for this course. Each selected topic will be based on handouts and research papers from recent top conferences and journals.

    Background recommended but not required: security, cryptography and/or distributed systems.

    Grading policy
    Participation in class discussion 15%
    Paper presentations + Reports 35%
    Final project 50%

    Weekly schedule
    Date Topic Discussion
    09/04/18 Class overview + Bitcoin Introduction Qiang
    09/11/18 Bitcoin Continued Qiang
    09/18/18 Smart Contract Introduction Yuan Lu
    09/25/18 Decentralized Applications TBA
    10/02/18 Decentralized Applications TBA
    10/09/18 Consensus Protocols TBA
    10/16/18 Consensus Protocols TBA
    10/23/18 Sharding + Lightening TBA
    10/30/18 Smart Contracts
    Milestone report due!
    11/06/18 Smart Contracts + Incentives TBA
    11/13/18 Incentives TBA
    11/20/16 Thanksgiving break TBA
    11/27/18 Privacy TBA
    12/04/18 Final Project Presentation All class
    12/11/19 Final Project Presentation All class


    Academic integrity