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    August 12th 2017 , 6:21 pm
    Categories: Rants, School life, Technology

    NUS SoC Summer School is finally over. Well, I used up this month’s study leave and took 1 day of annual leave to go for 2 days of summer school and it is finally over.

    I was thinking of writing a review on both classes that I went for but is feeling lazy to do so. Maybe I will just summarise my thoughts about both classes here.

    If you have read about it here, you would have known that I have signed up for “Cryptocurrencies: Security Challenges & Solutions” and “An Introduction to Sound Music and Wearable Computing” classes.

    The cryptocurrency class is really good. I have learnt more about the technical background of Bitcoin and Ethereum like proof of work and the up and coming proof of stake for Ethereum. It helps since I am recently exposed to the world of cryptocurrencies (thanks to Alan for introducing it to me). The session makes me realised the various types of risks involved in cryptocurrencies investment such as the risk of attacks on the languages (eg. Solidity) used in writing Ethereum blockchains. I wouldn’t have known about such risks if I didn’t go for the session. After the session, it makes me think twice about investing in cryptocurrency, especially so when the attack vector seems to have increased for smart contracts like Ethereum, as compared to Bitcoin with the introduction of a code attached to the blockchain.

    We also learnt about the key properties of a blockchain (which is the main technology behind cryptocurrencies).

    Key properties of a Blockchain

    • Immutability
      • Cannot change existing blocks
    • Validity
      • Only the owner of the coins can authorize the transfer of the coins
      • Eg. Alice cannot transfer Bob’s coins
    • Consensus
      • Nodes “agree” on the blockchain state
      • Select one, valid block as a group per round
    • Failure Resistance
      • Replicated checks on each block
      • Different protocols can tolerate different levels: 5%, 25%, 33%, 51% and 99% failure rates

    As for the music computing class, it is like a waste of time. The stuff taught in the first part of the class is rudimentary (things that you can learn in the first 2 years in engineering school). As for second part of the class, it is time spent to remix some music and seeing the recording studio. The last part of the class were for the PhD students and postdoc fellows to introduce the research area that they are working on.

    The good part for the class? I met 2 new friends who just joined the MComp in CS programme. Other than that, I don’t think I learnt anything new from the class.


      12th August 2017, 9:48 pm

      Woo hoo congrats! I guess summer is almost over. Its always disappointing when a class isn’t as informative as you thought it would be. But making friends, like you said, is a plus!

      I’ve always been intrigued with cryptocurrency and never really understand the why and how they work. The possi le security vulneralbilities in such important and decentralized information sends a shiver up my spine.

      Maroon Caludin
      14th August 2017, 2:42 am

      Hm some interesting stuff! Shame the one was more of a waste of time for you though. At least you made some friends!

      14th August 2017, 7:03 am

      Yay for making new friends! The cryptocurrency class sounds very interesting, and I’m sorry that the music computing class was a waste of time. :(

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