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Columbia U Opens Research Center Devoted to Blockchain Tech

blockchain links shaking hands

A new center at Columbia University will focus on research and innovation in blockchain technology. The institution partnered with IBM to create the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, which will "combine cross-disciplinary teams from the academic, scientific, business and government communities to explore key issues related to the policy, trust, sharing and consumption of digital data when using blockchain and other privacy-preserving technologies," according to a news announcement.

Blockchain technology provides a secure, transparent record of transactions that enables users to share data in real time while maintaining privacy. Some of the center's blockchain projects will include:

  • Research on data transparency and blockchain across industries;
  • Building technologies that apply blockchain in new ways;
  • Policy advising on blockchain and data transparency issues;
  • Developing ways to "balance regulatory and data ownership issues with new data monetization models";
  • Offering education and internships for building professional skills in blockchain and data transparency; and
  • Incubating blockchain and data transparency startups through an innovation accelerator.

A steering committee for the center will bring together Columbia faculty and academic leaders as well as IBM research scientists and business leaders, thus combining the university's academic strengths in data science, engineering, business and law with IBM's expertise in technology research and development, the announcement said.

"Our work with clients has shown that blockchain can benefit industries and with that comes a responsibility to deploy it in ways that will foster greater trust and transparency in data," said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of hybrid cloud and director of IBM Research, in a statement. "With Columbia, we are able to bring together leading thinkers on applying blockchain and data best practices based on extensive research and business experience and together prepare a new generation of technologists and business leaders."

"We anticipate that, through this partnership, we will significantly advance scholarship and applications of data-sharing and data-transparency technologies. The new Center further solidifies New York City as a hub for technical innovation," commented Columbia University Provost John H. Coatsworth. "Our students and faculty, working together with IBM, will play an important role in the vibrant exchange of ideas and research surrounding this transformative technology."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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