COMP7408A - Distributed ledger and blockchain technology

Semester 2, 2020-21

Dr. K.P. Chow
Professor S.M. Yiu
Teaching assistant
Miss Ke Zhang
Syllabus In this course, students will learn the key technical elements behind the blockchain (or in general, the distributed ledger) technology and some advanced features, such as smart contracts, of the technology. Variations, such as permissioned versus permissionless and private blockchains, and the available blockchain platforms will be discussed.

Students will also learn the following issues: the security, efficiency, and the scalability of the technology. Cyber-currency (e.g. Bitcoin) and other typical application examples in areas such as finance will also be introduced.
Introduction by Instructor -
Learning Outcomes
Course Learning Outcomes Relevant Programme Learning Outcome
CLO1. [Technical foundation]
Identify key components behind the design of a distributed ledger (and blockchain) and evaluate different designs/solutions for implementing a distributed ledger.
CLO2. [Applications and programming]
Understand the types of applications that best fit the model of distributed ledger; program applications and smart contracts on some popular platforms.
CLO3. [Cryptocurrency and other impacts]
Understand the technologies behind different cryptocurrencies, and other impacts related to distributed ledger, including its limitations, emerging directions, and related issues (e.g. Regulations).
PLO7, PLO12, PLO14
View Programme Learning Outcomes
Pre-requisites COMP7906 Introduction to cyber security or ICOM6045 Fundamentals of e-commerce security and experience in programming is required.
Compatibility Mutually exclusive with: FITE3011 Distributed Ledger and Blockchain
Topics covered
Course Content No. of Hours Course Learning Outcomes
Introduction: The rationale behind the design of a distributed ledger (blockchain) and the key components in such a platform. 6 CLO1
Different cryptographic primitives and designs in constructing a distributed ledger. 3 CLO1
Applications that best fit the platform. 3 CLO2
Programming an application in a popular blockchain platform (e.g. smart contracts in Ethereum). 6 CLO2
Cryptocurrency technology and its impact 6 CLO3
The impact of distributed ledger technology, limitations of existing distributed ledger platforms, possible enhancements to existing platforms, and possibilities of having new applications. 6 CLO3
Description Type Weighting * Examination Period ^ Course Learning Outcomes
Written Assignments Continuous Assessment 50% - CLO1, CLO2, CLO3
Written exam covering all taught content of the course Written Examination 50% May 10 to May 29, 2021 CLO1, CLO2, CLO3
* The weighting of coursework and examination marks is subject to approval
^ The exact examination date uses to be released when all enrolments are confirmed after add/drop period by the Examinations Office.  Students must oblige to the examination schedule. Students should NOT enrol in the course if they are not certain that they will be in Hong Kong during the examination period.  Absent from examination may result in failure in the course. There is no supplementary examination for all MSc curriculums in the Faculty of Engineering.
Course materials -
Session dates
Date Time Venue Remark
Session 1 25 Jan 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm GH-WGW Hybrid
Session 2 1 Feb 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm GH-WGW Hybrid
Session 3 8 Feb 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm Online Online Zoom Only
Session 4 1 Mar 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm CB-C Hybrid
Session 5 15 Mar 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm CB-C Hybrid
Session 6 22 Mar 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm CB-C Hybrid
Session 7 29 Mar 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm CB-C Hybrid
Session 8 12 Apr 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm CB-C Hybrid
Session 9 19 Apr 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm CB-C Hybrid
Session 10 26 Apr 2021 (Mon) 7:00pm - 10:00pm CB-C Hybrid
CB - Chow Yei Ching Building GH - Graduate House
Add/drop 18 January, 2021 - 1 February, 2021
Quota 90