by Evelyn Tarnovsky

Technology giant Microsoft has announced it will join a new research partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

This interdisciplinary collaboration is known as “CryptoCurrencies & Contracts” or IC3.

“We are excited to collaborate with this team of world-class experts in cryptography, game theory, distributed systems, programming languages and system security,” writes Yorke Rhodes III, a Microsoft blockchain business strategist.

As stated on IC3’s website, “Cryptocurrencies and smart contracts are emerging into a rich spectrum of new financial instruments and business tools, and blending finance with computer science in unprecedented ways. IC3 is collaborating with domain experts in finance and banking, entrepreneurs, regulators, and open source software communities to move these blockchain-based solutions from today’s whiteboards and proof-of-concepts to tomorrow’s fast and reliable financial systems of execution and record.”

It is no surprise that an Israeli institution is being represented in this prestigious partnership. Often referred to as ‘startup nation’, the State of Israel has been a pioneer and extraordinaire in technological developments worldwide. Silicon Wadi (the Israeli version of Silicon Valley) has a high concentration of international companies, high-tech start up companies, and a thriving venture capital sector.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has gained wide recognition for the prestigious College of Engineering, consistently ranking among the top five engineering programs in the country. The Computer Science program in particular has gained worldwide recognition, advancing the field of Computer Science with various publications.

The University of Illinois has educated some of the world’s best technological leaders, including YouTube founder and CTO Steven Chen and Yelp cofounder Russell Simmons. In August, KEVM, a framework developed by U Illinois won this year’s IC3-Ethereum Crypto Boot Camp, a blockchain development event and competition.

Illini Public Affairs Committee is thrilled to support the partnership between Microsoft, the Technion in Israel, the University of Illinois, and other leading educational institutions, and looks forward to the future of technology and academics through a strong American-Israeli relationship.