Boise State University will establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site centered around blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the way information is encoded, secured, and distributed. It is a technology that can improve safety and security of existing processes in society and enable development of systems that could not previously exist. Potential applications of blockchain are far-reaching, including how financial institutions exchange currency, governments protect the integrity of electronic voting, and medical providers secure health information systems. This REU project will provide undergraduate students impactful and effective learning and research experiences. Students will learn how a transformative technology such as blockchain can be approached in depth from different perspectives with diverse methods and techniques, and they will gain valuable experience in reporting their research results and making real contributions to the field. Technical content will be infused with ethical principles and processes underpinning expectations and demands of democratic societies.

This REU Site will facilitate the growth of ten undergraduate students each year into researchers, by providing them with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to navigate the design, development, and implementation of blockchain technologies for securing critical information systems. The REU Site will facilitate theoretical and practical advances in blockchain technology knowledge through mentored team-based research processes. In support of their professional development, students will participate in a mini-course on blockchain technology, a mini-course on ethical considerations of blockchain technology, three different seminars for creating synergy among research project and for debriefing, as well as a culminating experience where students present the results of their work at the Idaho Conference for Undergraduate Research. The objectives of the proposed REU Site Program are: (1) Prepare students to perform research in a collaborative setting in support of their professional development, (2) Establish a strong and diverse applicant pool of students who have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to become the future leaders in blockchain technology, and (3) Contribute to building the next generation of computer scientists in a way that promotes participation of qualified members of groups that are not fully represented in STEM in the U.S. Research results will be disseminated to the public through journal publications, conference proceedings, and conference presentations. Students will be recruited from underrepresented groups in response to needs for technically proficient and diverse professionals to lead innovations in technology.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS)
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Jeffrey Forbes
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Boise State University
United States
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