CMSC 858T --- Introduction to Secure Distributed Computation

Spring 2021

Course Overview

This course is an introduction to secure distributed computation (broadly construed), primarily intended for graduate students interested in research in this or related areas. Topics will be determined in part by the interests of the students, and may include secure multiparty computation, fully homomorphic encryption, oblivious RAM, differential privacy, SNARKs, and consensus/blockchain protocols. The course will focus on reading research papers and will emphasize definitions, foundations, and formal proofs of security. The syllabus will be updated throughout the semester.

Technically, no previous background in cryptography is required for this class since the material does not depend on any specific prior knowledge. However, students with no prior exposure to cryptography will be missing a lot of the context and may have difficulty following some of the discussion. Note also that this is not a "survey" course on cryptography, so students who take no other cryptography course will miss out on some fundamental aspects of the field. Mathematical maturity is assumed. I highly encourage students taking this class who have no prior background in (modern) cryptography to watch my free cryptography course on Coursera, and/or to read my textbook, in advance of the class.

This course is an MS/PhD qualifying course.

Course Requirements

It is expected that students taking this course are interested in potential research in this area and, as such, none of the requirements will present a problem for anyone taking the class. The requirements are: For further information about scribing lectures, see here.


General Information