Math 5248: Cryptology and Number Theory

  • Spring 2018: Professor Andrew Odlyzko

  • Classes: MW 1:00 - 2:15, Vincent 113

  • Office Vincent Hall 511

  • Office hours: Mon 5:30 - 7:00, Tue 2:00 - 5:30, and by appointment. However, always check this web page before coming over, as on some days the hours may be restricted.

  • Textbook: "Cryptology and Number Theory" by Paul Garrett, available at Alpha Print in Dinkytown (next to McDonald's), 1407 4th St SE., 612-379-8535. Used copies from previous years, produced by Alpha Print, are the same. However, the first edition, printed by the publisher, has substantial differences, and would not suffice.

  • Additional material: You might find useful two textbooks that are available freely (and legally) online, Victor Shoup's "A Computational Introduction to Number Theory and Algebra", Shoup book, and William Stein's "Elementary Number Theory: Primes, Congruences, and Secrets", Stein book. For popular historical accounts of cryptology, highly recommended sources are Simon Singh, "The Code Book" and (for much more detail) David Kahn, "The Codebreakers".

  • Computer algebra systems (very helpful, although not absolutely essential and not required): Maple, Mathematica, available in Math computer labs, and also (for CSE undergrads) for free downloads at CSE Labs. Some systems available for free on the Web, such as Wolfram Alpha, will likely suffice. A calculator is advisable, even if you use a computer algebra system, to reduce the tedium of computations.

  • Tests: No final, three 75-minute in-class mid-terms on Wed Feb 14, Wed Mar 28, and Wed May 2 (last class day).

  • Weekly homework assignments (usually, excluding mid-term days), due (usually) on Wednesdays, first one (a small one) due Jan. 24. Will be posted by the preceding Friday, and will (usually) cover material through the preceding Wednesday. Always due at the beginning of a class, late homeworks will not be accepted. If you can't make it to class, you can leave your homework in my mailbox in Vincent 107, or email it to me (in either typeset or scanned form, PDF preferred).

  • You may work with others on homework problems. However, you have to write up your solutions yourself, in your own words, to show you understand the arguments.

  • Special challenge problems: There will be occasional challenge problems for extra credit. No collaborations are permitted on those.

  • Solutions to homework problems will be available through this site, usually posted the evening of the day they are due. However, they will not be live links, but URLs that you will have to paste into your browser to download (to keep crawlers from downloading and archiving them). These are for your use only, do not put them up on any web sites, Facebook pages, etc.

  • Tests will be open book; you may bring books, notes, and calculators, but no smart phones, iPads, or other communication devices can be used, and you have to do all the work yourself.

  • Grades: homework will count for 30%, the three tests for 20%, 25%, and 25%, respectively.

  • Expected effort: This is a 4-credit course, so you are expected to devote 12 hours per week, on average (including lectures).

  • Solution files for homeworks and midterms are provided for your personal use only. Do not distribute them via email or posting anyplace.

  • Scholastic Conduct: Cheating or other misconduct will not be tolerated. The standard University policies will be followed.

  • General remarks: This course develops the basic ideas of cryptology and related areas of number theory. Both symmetric and public key cryptosystems will be introduced, as will random number generators and cryptographic protocols. The basics of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency will be covered as an example of the application of the techniques developed in the course.

  • Homework assignments and other notes:

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