CS 678 - Cryptography

Bulletin Description

The study of security in communications and electronic computing. The encryption of data using public key systems, block ciphers, and stream ciphers. The basic tools for the design and analysis of such systems. Topics may include information theory, authentication, digital signatures, secret sharing schemes, complexity theoretic issues, probabilistic encryption, electronic commerce and others.


CS 515 or consent of instructor.

Expected Preparation

Students must have a solid background in discrete mathematics and algorithm design and analysis.

Student Learning Outcomes

Successful students will learn:

1. Basic issues of security in communication and computing.

2. Basic approaches to solving security problems.

3. Mathematical tools for analyzing cryptographic protocols, including the theory of finite fields.

4. A variety of protocols for providing security in different settings.

5. The background needed to read the current literature in cryptography.

Syllabus Information

Week by Week Course Outline:

This is a sample outline. Exact outline for this course will be determined by the instructor offering the course.

Weeks Topics
1 Introduction to cryptography: classical approaches
2-3 Block ciphers
4-6 Stream ciphers
7-9 Public key systems
10-11 Authentication and signature schemes
12 Probabilistic encryption
13 Electronic commerce
14-15 Student talks

Graded Work:

Exact details about graded work in this course will be determined by the instructor offering the course and will be made available in the syllabus during the first class meeting. Typically there will be a presentation of a paper in the recent literature by each student, bi-weekly homework, and a two-hour final examination.


A student's grade will be determined by a weighted average of homework assignments, presentation, and the final examination. The faculty offering the course will make the details available at the start of the course. A typical weighting is:

Homeworks: 40%
Paper Presentation: 25%
Final Examination: 35%

Possible Textbooks:

D. Stinson,
Cryptography: Theory and Practice,
CRC Press, 1995.