Mathematics of Information Security
M360, Section 1: Fall 2004

Professor: Dr. Rachel Pries
e-mail: pries ATSYMBOL
web page:
office: Weber 221

Lecture: MWF 9:00-9:50, Engineering E205.
Aaron has graciously offered to make his class notes available on the web. Aaron's class notes
These are meant to be a supplement to, not a substitute for, reading the book, coming to class, and thinking your own thoughts.

Course description: The main goal of this course is to understand historical and modern cryptosystems from a mathematical point of view. The first use of cryptography to send information secretly was around 2000 BC in ancient Egypt. With the invention of computers, people had to develop new ways of encrypting messages to be secure. Modern cryptosystems rely on the mathematical topics of algebra and number theory. In addition, they use error-correcting codes to make sure that every part of a message is transmitted accurately. We will study the number theory used to implement and attact cryptosystems. Along the way, we will develop skills to solve unfamiliar problems with creative insight and logical reasoning.

Prerequisite: M229 or equivalent experience.

Text: W. Trappe, L. C. Washington: Introduction to Cryptography with Coding Theory, Prentice Hall, 0-13-061814-4.

Homework: Homework is the most important part of this class. Doing homework problems is crucial for doing well in this class. Some homework problems will help you learn the material and demonstrate this knowledge. Other problems will involve experiments and open-ended investigation. The process of doing homework will help you solve problems on the tests. Homework is due every Friday at the beginning of class. Homework must be neat, legible, and stapled in order to receive credit. I encourage you to brainstorm the problems in groups and write up your solutions independently.
Detailed information on homework and exams

Examinations: There will be a midterm in class on Wednesday 10/13.
There will be a final examination Monday 12/13 from 1:30-3:30 in E205.
There are no makeups for missed exams, regardless of the reason for absence. You must take the final examination at this time scheduled by the university; no final exams will be given earlier. If you have two final examinations scheduled at the same time, it is the responsibility of the other department to provide an alternate exam. Examinations will not be rescheduled because of travel arrangements. It is your responsibility to schedule travel appropriately.

Important Dates: There will be no class on Monday 9/6 (Labor day) or 11/22, 11/24, 11/26 (Fall recess).
On 9/8 (P), 10/1 (B), 10/4 (B), 10/22 (P), the other section will join us in E205, so come early to get a good seat!
On six Fridays, our class will meet in the computer lab Weber M206 instead of in E205.
Subject to change, these dates are 9/3, 9/17, 10/8, 10/29, 11/12. Information about the computer lab

Grading: The course grades will be computed as follows.
30% homework; 30% midterm; 40% final. Borderline grades will be decided on the basis of class participation.

Help: Help is always available if you have trouble with homework or lecture material. If your classmates can't answer your question, come ask me! Office hours are W 2-3, Th 2-3, or by appointment.