UMBC Data Science Meetup Talk

Exploding Blockchain Myths

Maria Vachino and Dr. James P. Howard

5:30-7:00pm Tuesday, 13 October 2020

In this talk, Maria Vachino from Easy Dynamics and Dr. James P. Howard from APL will provide an overview of what blockchain is and isn’t, focusing on non-cryptocurrency use cases, will explain the results of their research for the DHS S&T Cybersecurity Directorate, and will provide insight into the value (or lack therefore) of the technology.


Maria Vachino is the Director of Digital Identity at Easy Dynamics where she is focused on Identity Credential & Access Management (ICAM) technologies, policies, & standards, Cybersecurity, and IT modernization for the US Federal Government. She started investigating applications for blockchain technology in 2015 as the Technical and Government Engagement Lead for the DHS S&T Cyber Security Directorate’s Identity Management Research & Development Program while a member of the Senior Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. Maria has a BS in Computer Science from UMBC and an MS in Cybersecurity.

Dr. James P. Howard, II (UMBC Ph.D. ’14) is a scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Previously, he was a consultant to numerous government agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Executive Office of the President, and the United States Department of Homeland Security, and worked for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as an internal consultant on scientific computing. He is a passionate educator, teaching mathematics and statistics at the University of Maryland Global Campus since 2010 and has taught public management at Central Michigan University, Penn State, and the University of Baltimore. His most recent work has modeled the spread of infectious respiratory diseases and Ebolavirus, predicted global disruptive events, researched using blockchain for government services, and created devices for rescuing victims of building collapse. He is the author of two books.