Introduction to Cryptography - CMSC 456
Course Outline This course serves as an introduction to cryptography suitable for undergraduate or graduate students.
The focus is on definitions, theoretical foundations, and rigorous proofs of security. This course is cross-listed with the mathematics department, so it will have a significant mathematical component.
This course complements Computer and Network Security (CMSC 414) which focuses more on "high-level" issues and actual systems; in this class, we will look "under the hood" and attempt to understand various cryptographic protocols and algorithms.
This course and CMSC 414 may be taken in either order, and are designed to be largely independent of each other.
The textbook for the course is Introduction to Modern Cryptography, by myself and Yehuda Lindell. The book is available from the publisher or on-line retailers, and
a copy has been placed on reserve in the CS library.
No advanced mathematics background is assumed, but students are expected to possess "mathematical maturity" since many of the concepts will be abstract, rigorous proofs will be given, and we will cover some advanced mathematics in class.
Discrete mathematics (probability theory, modular arithmetic) and complexity theory will be helpful, but all necessary prerequisites will be reviewed in class.
A tentative syllabus and the lecture schedule are available.
- The class meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 - 10:50 in 1121 CSIC.
- Grading will be based on 8-10 homeworks assigned throughout the course (25%), two midterm exams (30% total), and a final exam (45%). Note that homeworks make up a significant portion of the final grade!
- You may collaborate on the homeworks with at most one other student in the class. Each student must independently write up their own solutions, and must list the other student (if any) with whom they have collaborated.
- You may consult outside references when doing the homework, as long as these sources are properly referenced, you write up the solution yourself, and you understand the answer.
- Feedback is very important. Please let me know (via email, if you like) if anything covered in class is unclear. Most likely, other students are having the same difficulty.
- Check the course homepage frequently since all handouts will be distributed via the web and an updated syllabus will be maintained on this page.
Staff Instructor: Jonathan Katz (jkatz AT cs). Office: 3225 A.V. Williams Building. Office hours: Tuesday 2:00-3:30. (If you plan to come to office hours in any given week, please email me a day in advance. Otherwise, if no one shows up, I will leave early.)
Teaching Assistant: Ranjit Kumaresan (ranjit AT cs). Office hours: MW 11-12, in the TA room (AV Williams 1112)
- According to the official examination schedule, the final exam will be held in 1121 CSIC on Wednesday, Dec. 19 from 8 - 10 AM.
- The final will cover all the material covered in class (see here), except that it will not cover Chapters 1, 5, and 6.
- I will not have scheduled office hours between now and the final. If you have any questions or want to arrange a meeting, please send me email.