Mathematics is not a spectator sport.
I hear, I forget.
I see, I remember.
I do, I understand.
- Chinese Proverb
An education is not received. It is achieved.Reading We will work through Singh's The Code Book and Beezer's Mathematics of Cryptography deliberately, and dates for discussing sections of these books are listed on the schedule. Please be prepared for these discussions in advance. Generally we will cover mathematical topics on Wednesdays, with five lectures in the first few weeks, then in-class worksheets for several more weeks. Fridays will be discussions throughout almost the entire semester, with Singh being the primary topic for the first half. We will discuss Crypto and Secrets and Lies near the end of the semester, so you will want to be reading these two books in advance of those discussions. Reading these two books early will also be of some assistance as you formulate topics for your position paper. Cryptonomicon is a novel, and you will be expected to be reading it uniformly through the semester. For example, you should be one-third of the way through by the time we have the first examination. Puzzles The Codes and Ciphers book has 20 puzzles. The schedule indicates on most every Monday just where you should be in working through this book at a two-puzzle-per-week pace (excepting weeks when we have exams and presentations). Mondays will be a time to discuss each set of two puzzles. Examinations will include problems similar in spirit to the puzzles. Discussions You will be organized into groups for weekly email discussions. Original submissions are due by 11:59 PM Thursday each week, prior to our Friday discussions. You then have until 11:59 PM Sunday night to reply to postings by other members of your group. Conscientious efforts on Thursday postings are worth three points. Replies to others' postings are worth one point each. You must include me as a recipient on your postings in order to receive credit. Your replies over the weekend should be a response to a single classmate's original posting and should be sent to everybody in your group, and should of course include me also. These discussions will take place on hushmail.com. Discussion groups will be realigned after each exam, with new groups formed from individuals with similar levels of participation in prior weeks. Postings should be thoughtful commentary or opinions on topics relevant to the course. Difficulties with practicums, how busy you are, why your boyfriend/girlfiend is mad at you, or what party you went to last night are not relevant topics. Discussions of topics described in Singh, thoughts on new mathematics, revelations from practicums or plot twists in Cryptonomicom are relevant. Your postings do not need to be excessively long, a normal-sized paragraph per point is a good guideline. Position Paper A major portion of this course will be a research project on some public-policy or societal aspect of cryptology. It will include both written and oral presentations, along with early drafts. A more detailed description of the assignment will be distributed with due dates. No portion of this project will be accepted late. Examinations There will be three exams - see the attached sheet for tentative dates. One of these is the final exam, which will be given at 10 AM on Friday, May 12 for Section A (10:00 class) and at Noon on Wednesday, May 10 for Section B (12:00 class). The final exam cannot be given at any other time, so be certain that you do not make any travel plans that conflict. The exams neatly divide the course into three portions. Part I is classical cryptology and the basic mathematics required for both classical and modern cryptology. Part II considers modern cryptology, since the revolutionary events of the 1970's. Part III considers the societal and public-policy issues wrought by the combination of advanced cryptology, cheap computers and ubiquitous networks. Grades Grades will be based on the following recipe: Discussions - 1 part; Practicums - 2 parts; Research Project - 2 parts; Exams - 3 parts. Attendance and improvement will be considered for borderline grades. Scores will be posted on the World Wide Web at
|Tentative Daily Schedule|
|Part I Classical Cryptology|
|Part II Modern Cryptology|
|Part III Society, Public Policy, Cryptology|
|Section A (10:00): 8 AM, Friday, May 12|
|Section B (12:00): Noon, Wednesday, May 10|