Blockchain is the technology for decentralized management of distributed data that underpins BitCoin and other cryptocurrencies. Ressearchers have recently noticed that Blockchain technology is also useful for transforming other previously centralized activities into distributed autonomous organizations, and that has spurred a flood of investment. Blockchains are ideally suited to create a universal ledger that records all educational events, transactions, and outcomes into a kind of global super-transcript that does not require validation or administration by centralized authorities. Such a ledger would be secure, private, tamper-proof, and timestamped but it would also be open so that third-party developers can create applications that deliver value to students, employers, and institutions. These applications would be deeply disruptive to accreditors, federal regulators, the personnel recruitment industry, rankings, credentialing, and other middle-man industries that create unnecessary friction in higher education, ultimately driving up the cost of education.
Richard DeMillo is the Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Professor of Computing and Professor of Management at Georgia Tech. He founded and directs the Center for 21st Century Universities, Georgia Tech’s living laboratory for fundamental change in higher education. He was named Lumina Foundation Fellow in recognition of his work in higher education.
His research contributions include fundamental work in computer security, cryptography, software engineering, and theoretical computer science. He is co-inventor of the field of Differential Fault Analysis (DFA), a cryptanalysis technique that has been applied to many cryptosystems. DFA and the field that has grown around it has led to changes in security standards. He is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery.