Hacking the Humanities: Cyber Days Conference on Blockchain Highlights Technology as a Vital Tool for Humanities Students

Published: February 16, 2018

Jessica Wolf | 

One of the biggest champions of blockchain technology on the UCLA campus is a humanities professor — specifically David MacFadyen, professor of musicology who is currently serving as chair of the comparative literature department.

As part of UCLA’s Blockchain Lab, MacFadyen has curated “Cyber Days,” a series of talks and workshops Feb. 17–18 in the Humanities Building that brings a group of tech leaders to campus to explore and enlighten the UCLA community around the creative potential of blockchain technology.

Blockchain is a secure, peer-to-peer technology platform made up of a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked, explained Bhagwan Chowdhry, professor of finance who teaches the university’s only blockchain-related course in the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

“Each successive block refers to a cryptographic fingerprint of the previous block,” Chowdhry said. “Even the smallest attempt at modifying any record is detected and rejected by a consensus mechanism that keeps identical copies of the blocks on many computers distributed around the world.”

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