Instructor: Rafael Pass
Time: TR 1:25-2:40
Place: 306 Hollister Hall
Course Web page: http://www.cs.cornell.edu/courses/cs4830/2008fa/
Office Hours: Mon 1:00-2:00p
Place: 328 Upson Hall (Bay C)
The modern study of cryptography investigates techniques for facilitating interactions between distrustful entities. In our connected society, such techniques have become indispensable---enabling, for instance, automated teller machines, secure wireless networks, internet banking, satellite radio/television and more. In this undergraduate course we introduce some of the fundamental concepts of this study. Emphasis will be placed on rigorous proofs of security based on precise definitions and assumptions.
Topics include: one-way functions, encryption, signatures, pseudo-random number generation, zero-knowledge and basic protocols.
Note: This will be a theory course. You will be expected to read and write formal definitions and mathematical proofs. This is not a course in security: you will not learn how to secure your system. Cryptography is only one (important) part of security. We will not study cryptographic acronyms or all cryptographic protocols in use today. Rather we focus on some of the fundamental design paradigms and on notions that will allow you to critically evaluate cryptographic protocols.
CS280 (or equivalent), CS381 (or mathematical maturity), or permission of instructor.
The main skills that will be assumed from these courses are: 1) the ability to understand and write formal mathematical definitions and proofs and 2) comfort with reasoning about algorithms, such as proving their correctness and analyzing their running times. It is also important that you are familiar with basic probability.
We are using the course management system, CMS. Please login to http://cms.csuglab.cornell.edu/ and check whether you are registered. There will be a list of courses you are registered for, and Com S 487 should be one of them. If not, please send your full name and Cornell netid to the TA so they can register you. You can check your grades and submit homework in CMS.
There will be 6 homeworks, an in-class mid-term and a take-home final exam.
Dates for other HW (subject to change): HW2 on Sep 23, HW3 on Oct 7, HW4 on Oct 28, HW5 on Nov 11, HW6 on Nov 25.
Homeworks need to be handed in before the beginning of class. Additionally, you have a total of 4 “late-days” that you can use throughout the semester.
The midterm is in class on Oct 16.
Weights: homeworks 60%, mid-term 15% and final 25%.
You are free to collaborate with other students on the homework, but you must
turn in your own individually written solution and you must specify the names
of your collaborators. Additionally, you may make use of published material,
provided that you acknowledge all sources used. Note that it is a violation of
this policy to submit a problem solution that you are unable to explain orally
to a member of the course staff.
Assignments will be posted in CMS. Submit hardcopy in class or to the TA by the due date, or as a .pdf, .ps, .doc, or .txt file in CMS.
Typed problem sets are strongly preferred.
Lecture notes will be made available on the web-site, but should not serve as a substitute for attending the lectures. In particular, lecture notes might sometimes be posted several days after the class.
Current draft of the lecture notes is here (updated on Nov 25)
There is no required text for the course other than lecture notes. You may find the following two books to be useful references. Note, however, that we will not always be following the same notational conventions as these books.
For a more applied treatment of cryptography, I suggest the following book which is available on-line.
For background reading on probability, algorithms, and complexity theory, I recommend: