The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Month: November 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Resources from November 30th - Security and Privacy

I made a copy of the Prezi that you constructed as a class today exploring the security / privacy debate. I'm the only one who can edit this copy of the Prezi, so it will serve as a "snapshot" of the class-constructed Prezi. This way, even if one of you starts making some crazy edits to the original Prezi, everyone will still have access to the debate map we constructed in class today.

Also, if you signed up for a free Prezi account, I encourage you to upgrade it to an Edu account for a few extra perks.

Here are links to the two articles I distributed in class today:

December Office Hours

With your final papers due on December 14th, I thought I'd go ahead and schedule a few extra office hours. Also, I'll be away next Monday at a conference, so I'm canceling my usual office hour that day. Here's my office hour schedule for the last few weeks of the semester:

  • 11/29 (Today) 5-6
  • 12/1 (Wednesday) 1:30-2:30
  • 12/2 (Thursday) 4-5
  • 12/7 (Tuesday) 4-4:30
  • 12/8 (Wednesday) 1:30-3:00
  • 12/10 (Friday / Reading Day) 11:45-1:30
  • 12/13 (Monday) 12-2

As usual, if those times don't work for you, just email me to schedule an appointment.

Problem Set 7

Here's Problem Set 7: Word and PDF. It's due at the beginning of class on Thursday, December 2nd.

Clarification: The numbers s and t you find in Question 2 need to be integers.

Essay #3 - Big Questions Paper

Here's your assignment and rubric for your third and final essay. The first draft of the essay is due in class on Tuesday, December 7th, and the final draft is due by noon on Tuesday, December 14th. I'll take questions about the essay in class on Tuesday or via email before then.

Reading Questions for November 30th

Please read Chapter 7 in the Simon Singh book and respond to the following questions before class on Tuesday, November 30th. Thanks!

  1. What do you see as the two most compelling reasons why strong encryption should be available to the general public, even if that means it's available to criminals and terrorists?
  2. What do you see as the two most compelling reasons that strong encryption should be restricted by law enforcement and national security agencies?
  3. Singh, writing around 1999, makes several predictions about the role of the Internet in our lives in the opening paragraph of Chapter 7. To what extent have these predictions come true? Are there other ways that the Information Age in which we now find ourselves has elevated the importance of encryption among the general public?
  4. On page 315, Singh writes that Zimmerman, through a friend, “simply installed [PGP] on an American computer, which happened to be connected to the Internet. After that, a hostile regime may or may not have downloaded it.” In your opinion, do you think that someone who makes a piece of software available on the Internet should be held at least partially responsible for what criminals or foreign governments do with that software?

Problem Set 6

Here's Problem Set 6: PDF and Word versions. It's due at the start of class on Tuesday, November 16th.

Resources from November 11th - Firesheep, Google Street View, RSA


Google Street View

RSA Encryption

Image: "Fields of Fire" by Flickr user Digimist, Creative Commons licensed. (That's not actually fire in the photo...)

Expository Essay - Bazeries Cylinder

And here's your final paper, one about the Bazeries cylinder [PDF].

Expository Essay - The Wheel Cipher

Here's Aubrey's paper on the wheel cipher [PDF].


Expository Essay - The Chaocipher #2

Here's Tanner's take on the Chaocipher [PDF].


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