February 22, 2017, 6PM: Bitcoin, Merkle Trees, and the Block Chain – Ken Baum

Location: IDCAST/UDRI, TechTown, 711 East Monument Avenue, Suite 101 in downtown Dayton. Google Map

In this talk, Ken will introduce us to the block chain, the foundational technology for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. While Bitcoin itself has had its share of problems, the block chain has emerged as a fascinating and potentially revolutionary way to store data in a secure, decentralized, trustless, and tamper-evident manner. Organizations all over the world are considering the block chain as a possible solution to many of the problems that currently exist with such diverse application domains as online voting, securities trading, distribution of governmental benefits, Internet domain names, smart contracts, and even that poster-child for combinatorial explosion, the Internet of Things. Whether or not any of this promise pans out, we would do well to understand the underlying technology and the clever techniques that make it work. The talk is not about Bitcoin, per se, but Ken will explain the cryptocurrency to the extent that is necessary to understand the block chain. Ken will also walk through several bits of C# code that explore the Bitcoin block chain and the cryptographic technology it uses.

Bio: Ken Baum is a Senior Consultant for Ingage Partners. He began his technology career in 1976 where, as a member of the U.S. Air Force, his duties consisted of troubleshooting and restoring service to communications circuits, adjusting levels on channel multiplexers when maintenance wasn’t looking, and creating a daily report for headquarters using a paper tape punch. Thankfully it was all uphill from there and he eventually made his way into the software development world, earning a computer science degree from the University of Maryland and a masters in computer science from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He has been developing on the Microsoft stack since 1994, long before it was referred to as the ‘Microsoft stack.’ Currently he is working on .NET web applications. He is the father of 4 grown children, none of whom live at home, and is ‘Grandpa’ to 9 grandchildren. He loves cats, golf, Fringe, and The Tick.