CMSC 858K --- Advanced Topics in Theory of Computing: Cryptography

Spring, 2003


Announcement: Class will be cancelled on Tuesday, May 6.

Reminder: The final exam will be given on Tuesday, May 13, during the last class of the semester (and not during finals week).

Email me if you are interested in being added to the mailing list for the weekly crypto reading group.

Course Outline

This course will be an introductory graduate-level course in cryptography with a focus on definitions, theoretical foundations, and rigorous proofs of security. No programming will be required. Topics to be covered will depend to some extent upon the interests of the students, and may include: symmetric-key encryption and message authentication, public-key encryption and digital signatures, elliptic curve cryptography, electronic cash, electronic voting, zero-knowledge, and secure multi-party computation. In addition to a textbook, readings will be assigned from recent papers in the field.

Please note that this is a theory course. We will not be very concerned with "practicality", "efficiency", or aspects of implementation. In fact, only about 1/3 of the course will focus on schemes that are currently used in practice. The student interested in these issues should consider taking CSMC 456 - Introduction to Cryptography or CMSC 414 - Network Security instead.

No previous knowledge of cryptography will be assumed. In particular, it will not be assumed that students have taken CMSC 456. On the other hand, the class will be easier for those who have had some prior exposure to cryptography (for example, I will not spend a lot of time motivating the various concepts or definitions), and students who take only this course will miss out on issues covered in CMSC 456 that will not be covered here. I strongly recommend that students check out my lecture notes for CMSC 456; this will give an idea of the flavor of material to be presented and will also be useful background reading for this course.

General Information

Textbook(s) and Supplemental Reading