Introduction to Cryptography -- MATH/CMSC 456
This course is an undergraduate introduction to cryptography, whose
aim is to present the theoretical foundations of
cryptosystems used in the real world.
This course complements Computer and Network Security (CMSC 414), whose coverage of cryptography focuses more on its applications; in this class, we will look "under the hood" to get a better understanding of various cryptographic primitives, algorithms, attacks, and protocols.
The course will be similar, though not identical, to my previous offering of this course.
The required textbook for this course is Introduction to Modern Cryptography, 2nd edition.
The second edition of the book is required, and students are strongly advised to obtain a physical copy of the book since exams will be "open book" with no electronic devices permitted.
Note also that illegal copies of the book available online often do not match the printed edition (especially when it comes to the exercices); the professor will not be responsible for any deviations in content.
This course has a significant mathematical component.
No advanced mathematics background is assumed, but students are expected to have "mathematical maturity" since many of the concepts will be abstract, rigorous definitions and proofs will be given, and some new mathematics (e.g., group theory, number theory) will be introduced.
Basic background in discrete mathematics (probability, modular arithmetic) is assumed.
Moreover, the homeworks in this course will require programming.
The choice of language is flexible, but C/C++/java or python are recommended.
Some homeworks will have a networking component with the networking code provided for you in a particular language. It is assumed you can pick up what is needed in order to complete the assignments.
Basic background in algorithms (big-O notation and worst-case analysis, reading pseudocode) is assumed.
This course will follow all applicable UMD policies and procedures.
After each lecture, I will post a (brief) summary of what we cover, and provide references to relevant sections of the book, here.
- My course on Coursera provides a useful resource for learning about much of the material presented in class.
- I have registered the course on Piazza. Please ask questions about the lectures/homeworks there, and check frequently for announcements. If you are not able to register for the class on Piazza, please send me an email.
- Instructor: Professor Jonathan Katz (jkatz AT cs). Office: 5226 Iribe. Office hours: By appointment.
- Teaching Assistants:
All office hours are in the TA room.
- Erica Blum (erblum AT cs). Office hours: Mondays 4-6.
- Makana Castillo-Martin (makana AT cs). Office hours: Wednesdays 10-12.
- Elijah Grubb (egrubb AT cs). Office hours: Wednesdays 4-6.
- Corbin McNeill (mcneill AT cs). Office house: Mondays 10-12.
- Ben Sela (benj.sela AT gmail). Office hours: Wednesdays 12-2.
- The class meets Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 - 3:15 in ESJ 2208.
- The midterm exam will be held on the Thursday before Spring Break. Make your travel plans accordingly. Makeup exams will not be given without a legitimate excuse.
- TurningPoint clicker quizzes will be given as part of lecture. Students at UMD have access to TurningPoint subscriptions at no cost, but need to either purchase a clicker (available for $16 at the University bookstore) or use a cellphone. Students must register their device with TurningPoint
If you are unable to attend class due to an excused absence (i.e., illness or religious reasons), please email me so I can adjust the grade.
- This course will enforce a no-laptop policy (unless they are being used as part of an in-class assignment). You will also be asked to put away any cellphones or other electronic devices during class, unless they are being used for in-class quizzes.
- For excused absences or to reschedule an exam, please email the instructor.
- Grading will be based on weekly homeworks assigned throughout the course (25%), a midterm (35%), a final exam (35%), and in-class quizes (5%). (See above for more details about the in-class quizzes.)
The plus/minus grading system will be used.
- The final course grade is not curved. What this means is that there is no predetermined percentage of students who will get As, Bs, Cs, etc. Instead, every student's final grade is determined by how well he or she is able to demonstrate his/her understanding of the material.
This also means that students in the class are not competing with each other.
- Homework submissions will be done electronically using Canvas/ELMS.
- Late homeworks will not be accepted without advance approval of the instructor.
- You may collaborate on the homeworks with at most one other student in the class. Each student must independently write up their own solutions/code, and must list the other student (if any) with whom they 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. You may not take code from other sites without the permission of the instructor.
- No extensions will be granted without a valid excuse (e.g., religious/medical considerations), which should be discussed with the instructor in advance whenever possible.
- Check the course homepage frequently for announcements
and to follow the updated syllabus.