We are very happy to announce the three newest bloxberg members: The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, the Knowledge Media Institute at The Open University, and The Chair for Software Engineering for Business Information Systems (sebis) at the Technical University of Munich.
The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje is the first state University in the Republic of North Macedonia, founded in 1949, initially with three faculties. The University develops study programs in all scientific fields – natural sciences and mathematics, technical and technological sciences, medical and health sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. The Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering (FCSE) is the result of merging the two largest institutions of informatics and computer technologies in North Macedonia: the Institute of Informatics at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Institute of Computer Technics and Informatics at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies. The FCSE fosters international cooperation in terms of teaching, research, and mobility of students within the curriculum mobility program, Erasmus+ and other international cooperation agreements. FCSE realizes intensive scientific cooperation with more than 250 Universities, companies, and institutions from Europe and around the world – more than 100 projects funded by various programs (FP6, FP7, Horizon 2020, NATO, US Naval Research, and bilateral projects with other countries).
Besides all possible computer science and engineering research fields, blockchain is one of FCSE’s recent research areas with special interest lying in its interconnection with other technologies and systems. Starting from undergraduate level, FSCE provides blockchain courses in their curricula, while on MSc and Ph.D. level they offer specialized studies that provide interdisciplinary research covering Machine Learning, Data Science, IoT, Bioinformatics, etc. “As a part of the bloxberg consortium, we are very happy to support and share bloxberg’s vision on applying decentralized services for scientific and research purposes using a modern blockchain infrastructure. Our colleagues and students strive to develop different applications over the bloxberg infrastructure” says Slobodan Kalajdziski, Professor at FCSE.
The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) is a multidisciplinary R&D lab based in the STEM Faculty of The Open University (OU) in the United Kingdom. OU is the leading university for flexible, innovative teaching and world-leading research in the UK and in 157 countries worldwide. KMi has been at the forefront of innovation for the past 25 years. They lead in a number of areas, including Semantic Technologies, Educational Media, Social Media Analysis, Big Data, Blockchain, Smart Cities, IoT, and others.
The OU established the Open Blockchain research area in 2015, led by KMi, to investigate how blockchains can be used within higher education and corporate training and also the relationship between semantics, big data, and blockchains. Within the learning area, there are a number of scenarios where radical improvements may occur including: embedding micro certification within blockchains; the development of educational currencies to support the crowdsourced accreditation of ‘soft skills’ such as collaboration, communication, and leadership by peers; and new disruptive models for teaching and learning where intermediary layers are removed resulting in dramatically reduced costs and increased openness. Interoperability between blockchains and the automation of a number of tasks associated with the development of blockchain applications (DApps) through semantic technologies is a second focus.
KMi’s OpenBlockchain team has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience and a testbed architecture to support investigations in the use of blockchain in almost any scenario imaginable and has extensive experience working with the Ethereum blockchain. In May 2020 they unveiled a prototype mobile app that certifies COVID-19 immunity test results using blockchain and stores certificates in a Solid Pod. KMi’s Director, Professor John Domingue, said, “KMi is delighted to join the bloxberg consortium and to share our expertise to realize our joint vision for applied decentralized blockchain services“.
The Chair for Software Engineering for Business Information Systems (sebis) is one of the 25 chairs of the Informatics Faculty at the Technical University of Munich and is held by Professor Florian Matthes since its establishment in 2002. The chair contributes to the informatics and business informatics education at the Ph.D., master, and bachelor levels.
Blockchain-Based Systems Engineering is one of sebis' research areas since 2016 with particular interest focusing on institutional use cases, data analytics, and identity management in collaboration with multiple other universities and research institutions. In 2018, it established a Master's course called "Blockchain-based Systems Engineering", which over 600 students regularly attend.