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Interdisciplinary Research Advancements and Collaborative Exploration

Dr. Luyao Zhang's Insights with Diverse Collaborators at the CfC St. Moritz Academic Research Track 2024

Published onJan 24, 2024
Interdisciplinary Research Advancements and Collaborative Exploration

1. Event Description:

Dr. Luyao Zhang, Assistant Professor of Economics and Senior Research Scientist at the Data Science Research Center at Duke Kunshan University, showcased an array of interdisciplinary research at the CfC St. Moritz Academic Research Track (CFC-SMART), aligned with the 6th Crypto Finance Conference in Suvretta House, St. Moritz, Switzerland on January 12, 2024. “CFC SMART is a venue where excellent research can be disseminated not only among peers but also to meet top industry and nurture the necessary dialogue,” said Prof. Claudio J. Tessone, the co-founder and Chairman of the University of Zurich (UZH) Blockchain Center.

Her seven papers, with two as oral talks and five as posters, were at the nexus of computational and economic science, engaging fields such as economics, finance, management, behavioral science, computer science, global health, and innovative technology. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation in China, underscoring Dr. Zhang's innovative work on "Trust Mechanism Design on Blockchain." Further support came from Duke Kunshan University’s forward-thinking academic initiatives, which include the Summer Research Scholar Programs, the Wang-Cai Biochemistry Lab Donation Fund, the Student Experiential Learning Fellowship (SELF), and the Data + X Program. This latter program, co-led by Dr. Xin Tong and Dr. Zhang, is dedicated to investigating the ethical dimensions of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), focusing on aspects like trust, privacy, transparency, and fairness. Additionally, the Center for Study of Contemporary China (CSCC) at Duke Kunshan University provided crucial support through its Undergraduate Research Grant. This grant, along with the aforementioned programs, plays a pivotal role in nurturing a new generation of researchers and global leaders grounded in social responsibility. These initiatives align seamlessly with Dr. Zhang’s courses at DKU, such as STATS 201 Introduction to Machine Learning for Social Science, Econ 211 Intelligent Economics: An Explainable AI Approach, and COMSCI/ECON 206 Computational Microeconomics, contributing to the rich educational fabric of DKU, fostering an environment that actively encourages students to delve deeply into pioneering research inquiries and the latest technological advancements, all aimed at enhancing societal well-being and nurturing their evolution into independent researchers and thought leaders at the vanguard of knowledge.

1.1 The Oral Talks: 

The first contributed talk entitled "Leveraging Social Media Sentiments and Ethical Signals for NFT Valuation" was co-authored by Dr. Xin Tong, Assistant Professor of Computation and Design at DKU, alongside DKU undergraduate students Yutong Quan, Jiaxun Cao, DKU Alumni and Duke student Yutong Sun, and Ph.D. student Kyrie Zhixuan Zhou at UIUC.

The second contributed talk entitled "The Economics of Blockchain Governance: Evaluating Liquid Democracy on the Internet Computer" was co-authored by Dr. Luyao Zhang and Yulin Liu, a thought leader engaged in multiple industrial entrepreneur activities in Switzerland and beyond.

1.2 The Presented Posters:

"Deep Learning-based Multimodal Forecasting for Cryptocurrency Trends" was co-authored by DKU undergraduate students Yihang Fu (leading author) and Mingyu Zhou, in collaboration with Prof. Luyao Zhang.

"The Impact of Incidents on Crypto Markets: An Analysis of CeFi and DeFi Trust Mechanism" was co-authored by leading student author Xintong Wu, along with Wanlin Deng, Yutong Quan, and Prof. Luyao Zhang.

"Transforming Healthcare Information Systems through the Integration of Blockchain" was a joint interdisciplinary effort, where graduate student Dongfang Wu received guidance and made significant contributions under the mentorship of Prof. Chenkai Wu and Prof. Luyao Zhang.

"Analyzing Reward Dynamics and Decentralized System in Ethereum 2.0" featured contributions from Tao Yan, Sheng-Nan Li, Benjamin Kraner, and Claudio J. Tessone from the Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technologies Group at the University of Zurich and UZH Blockchain Center, along with Prof. Luyao Zhang.

"Uniswap Daily Transaction Indices by Network" represented a collaborative effort involving graduate students Nir Chemaya, Emma Jorgensen, and Dingyue Liu at UCSB, Prof. Lin William Cong from Cornell University, and Prof. Luyao Zhang.

This collective endeavor not only reflects academic rigor but also signifies a shared journey of discovery, navigating the intersection of technology and economics. It serves as a beacon of progress towards a more enlightened and imaginative future, fostering global leaders, and interdisciplinary talents, and fostering academia-industry collaborations that transcend boundaries.

2. Co-authors

2.1. Students at DKU 

by the alphabetical order of the last names: 

Wanlin Deng

Wanlin Deng is a Junior majoring in Political Economy at Duke Kunshan University. She has a great interest and solid foundation in economics and computer science and is interested in the interdisciplinary study fields of computational economics. Her interest areas include blockchain and trust mechanisms. Under the guidance of Professor Luyao Zhang, she is committed to researching the impact of exchange bankruptcies on trust in the crypto world. Investigating public sentiments towards DAOs and exploring the trust mechanisms between DEX and CEX has equipped me with the ability to build upon existing literature and infuse innovation into my research. Moreover, I have honed my skills in conducting rigorous scientific inquiries, adeptly procuring reliable data from online platforms, and replicating studies to validate data reliability. These competencies collectively contribute to my growth as a more proficient researcher. 

Yihang Fu

I am Yihang majoring in Data Science from the class of 2024 at Duke Kunshan University. My research interests include Multimodal Machine Learning, Health Informatics, Blockchain, AI Ethics, etc. 

Yutong Quan

Yutong Quan, Class of 2024, Duke Kunshan University, majoring in Political Economy with an Economics track. Her academic interests are rooted in the intersection of economics, finance, and computational methods. Her previous research work includes sentiment analysis and price forecasting for cryptocurrency assets, and the examination of governance discourses in the blockchain ecosystem. She is committed to expanding her knowledge and actively contributing to the evolving academic dialogue in these fields.

Dongfang Wu

My name is Dongfang Wu, the founder of KunyiBlockchain, currently pursuing my master’s degree majoring in Global Health at Duke Kunshan University. I have authored over ten pieces of blockchain software and published multiple research papers on "Blockchain+" topics, including one in ESCI, one in CSSCI, and two in Peking University Core Journals. All my articles indexed in Peking University Core have been fully reproduced by Renmin University. My expertise lies in Solidity contract development on Ethereum and EVM-compatible chains, HTML embedding, and tokenization of real-world assets (RWA).In this research, I have gained a deeper understanding of the organic integration of "Blockchain+ healthcare." Through a systematic review of the literature, I have identified the pain points in traditional health information systems. Additionally, I have explored the opportunities and challenges presented by blockchain innovation in healthcare systems, along with potential solutions to address these challenges, such as the Internet Computer Protocol. Besides, there has been a shift in focus within healthcare towards a patient-centric comprehensive framework, aiming to achieve a globally equitable and just pursuit of health.

Xintong Wu

Xintong Wu is a student in the Class of 2025 at Duke Kunshan University, majoring in Computation and Design with a track in Computer Science. Her interested research areas are digital design, digital market research, and metaverse. She hopes to delve into the dynamic interactions between technology and society in the future Web 3.0 era and explore the infinite possibilities that technology can bring. Embarking on "The Impact of Incidents on Crypto Markets" research has profoundly shaped my intellectual and professional trajectory.  Analyzing CeFi and DeFi trust mechanisms in crypto markets unveiled the intricate interplay of economics, technology, and behavioral science.  The interdisciplinary journey honed my analytical skills, fostering a nuanced understanding of blockchain dynamics. The research experience underscores my commitment to innovative exploration and ethical considerations in emerging technologies, propelling my growth as a forward-thinking researcher.

Mingyu Zhou

Mingyu Zhou, Class of 2025, is a Duke Kunshan University undergraduate majoring in applied mathematics. His research interest lies in the application of Multimodal Machine learning in Cryptocurrency and sentiment analysis for price prediction. Throughout the research experience, his intellectual and professional growth is mainly reflected by his capacity to work out tasks from the range of collecting, analyzing, and preprocessing data to building, tuning, and validating a classic machine learning model as a baseline model. On the other hand, he is also equipped with the ability to search, extract, and summarize relevant articles during the process of researching.

Email: [email protected] 

2.2. Graduate Students and Post-docs at Other Institutions:

Nir Chemaya

Nir Chemaya is a PhD Candidate in Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He focuses on researching Finance and Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Nir is particularly interested in exploring innovations in the Fintech markets, such as blockchain and Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and agents' interactions with those technologies. In this spirit, Nir’s job market paper estimates traders' preferences for blockchain security from a big trading data set of over 19M transactions from Decentralized Exchange (DEX) platforms. Using empirical or experimental data and applying traditional economic models and rigorous analysis, Nir examines and unpacks current hypotheses about trends in Blockchain and DeFi.

Emma Jorgensen

Emma is a PhD student in the Department of Economics at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include macroeconomics, econometrics, and decentralized finance (DeFi). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Mathematics, and a Master of Arts in Economics, both from UCSB.

Benjamin Kraner

Benjamin Kraner is a PhD student in the Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies group. Before starting his PhD, Benjamin obtained a master's degree in economics from the University of Zürich. His background in economics provides him with a unique perspective on the design and implementation of DLTs, particularly concerning the economic incentives that underlie these systems. Benjamin's research interests include the study of consensus mechanisms, which are fundamental to the functioning of blockchain and DLTs. He is particularly interested in the economic incentives that are built into these systems and how they affect the behavior of network participants. His work aims to explore the impact of these incentives on the security, scalability, and efficiency of DLTs.

Sheng-Nan Li

Shengnan Li is a member of the UZH Blockchain Center and a postdoctoral researcher in the Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies group at the Informatics Department, University of Zurich. During their PhD study, she mainly focuses on data analytics and agent-based modeling in blockchain-based systems, including the detection of selfish mining behavior, data analysis on reward incentives, and modeling staking mechanisms. She received a bachelor's degree in financial engineering and a master's degree in systems analysis and integration both from the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. She already published her PhD thesis: “Effects of Consensus and Incentives on the Functioning of Blockchains, which brings her systematic cognition of the blockchain ecosystem from both the academic and industry perspectives.

Dingyue Liu

Dingyue Liu (Kite) is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Economics at UC Santa Barbara. His research interests include Behavioral Economics, Decentralized Finance, Labor Economics, and Economics of Education.

Tao Yan

Tao Yan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Informatics at the University of Zurich. He received his bachelor's degree in Information Systems and master's degree in Big Data Management. He is focusing on Decentralized Finance(DeFi) and large-scale blockchain data analysis.

Kyrie Zhixuan Zhou

Kyrie Zhixuan Zhou is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Hongyi Honor College at Wuhan University. He is an HCI researcher aiming to understand, design, and govern ICT and AI experience for vulnerable populations.

2.3. Professors and Industry Leaders

by the alphabetical order of the last names: 

Dr. Lin William Cong, Rudd Family Professor of Management and a Tenured Professor of Finance at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business, the Founding Faculty Director for the FinTech Initiative at Cornell, faculty Scientist at the Initiatives for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Dr. Yulin Liu, Senior Economic Advisor at Chainlink and Partner at Bochsler Finance.

Dr. Claudio J. Tessone, Professor of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies at the Informatics Department, University of Zurich and co-founder and Chairman of the UZH Blockchain Center.

Dr. Xin Tong, Assistant Professor in Computation and Design, Duke Kunshan University.

Dr. Chenkai Wu, Assistant Professor of Global Health, Duke Kunshan University Director of Graduate Studies for MSc-Global Health.

Dr. Luyao Zhang, Assistant Professor of Economics and Senior  Research Scientist at Data Science Research Center, Duke Kunshan University.

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