Cryptography

The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Category: Course Info Page 1 of 6

Paper #1 - Little Brother

See below for your first paper assignment, along with the provision rubric I'll use to evaluate your papers. Please note the various deadlines listed in the assignment. We'll talk about the assignment in class, but feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about it.

Welcome to class!

I'm excited to teach "Cryptography: The History and Mathematics of Codes and Ciphers" again this fall. It's my favorite course to teach, and I hope you find it interesting, too.

Here's a copy of the Fall 2019 syllabus. Please read this before class on Friday, August 23rd, when we'll talk about various aspects of the course and I'll take your questions on the syllabus.

On the Contact page, you'll find directions to my office, which you'll need for the "get to know you meetings" next week. Be sure to give yourself a few extra minutes to find my office the first time, and feel free to call the Center for Teaching (where I work) if you get lost: 615-322-7290.

I'll also remind you that you should read the first chapter in our textbook, The Code Book by Simon Singh, before class on Monday.

Office Hours

Here's my office hour schedule for this week and next:

  • Wednesday, 12/5, 1:30 to 2:30pm
  • Friday, 12/7, 11am to noon
  • Monday, 12/10, 2pm to 3pm
  • Tuesday, 12/11, 1pm to 2pm
  • Wednesday, 12/12, noon to 1pm

Paper #2 - Security vs. Privacy

Here's the info on your final paper assignment, due Wednesday, December 12th.

Math Exam Study Guide

Updated 11/8/18 with more practice problems!

The math exam, scheduled for Friday, November 9th, will cover the mathematical concepts and techniques we’ve explored this semester.  The exam will not involve any codebreaking, although some questions on the exam may draw on cryptography for context.  You are encouraged to bring a calculator (scientific or graphing) to the test, but you will not be allowed to use a laptop during the test.

For a topic list and suggested practice problems (with solutions!), see the study guide.

Online Participation Check-in

Your online participation in this course contributes 10% of your final course grade. At the end of the semester, I'll ask you to review your online participation in this course, compare your participation to that of your peers, and assess your contributions to the learning community. I'll ask you to give yourself an online participation score between 0 and 10 points, and email it to me with a justification (not more than a paragraph). If I think your score is reasonable, given your justification, I'll use that as your online participation grade.

Your assignment for Monday, October 22nd, is to email me your self-assessment of your online participation in this course as it stands now. This is your chance to reflect on how you've been contributing to our little learning community.

To assess your online participation, focus on blog posts and bookmarks on Diigo, as well as other forms of online participation, if any. In each of these areas, I usually ask you for specific contributions -- posts that responded to particular questions, or bookmarks about specific topics, or tags and comments that fit certain parameters. As you look over your contributions to the course, keep these requests in mind. Also consider how your online participation contributed to the learning of your peers in the course.

Podcast Assignment

Here are the details on your podcast assignment, along with a draft rubric I'll use for assessing your podcast episodes.

Rhett McDaniel, educational technologist at the Center for Teaching, will join us this Friday, October 12th, to show how to use Audacity to edit audio and to walk us through some of the podcasting resources he has collected.

Extra Credit Opportunities

I'm giving you a couple of opportunities for extra credit in the next few weeks:

  • The Undergraduate Honor Council is presenting a workshop titled "Academic Integrity 101: Winning the Right Way" with philosophy professor Scott Aikin, co-host of the YouTube series Philosophy15. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, September 19th, at 6pm in the Commons Multi-Purpose Room. Pizza and drinks will be provided.
  • The Chancellor's Lecture Series kicks off the 2018-19 season with Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency (1999-2005) and of the Central Intelligence Agency (2006-2009). The conversation with General Hayden is titled "The Assault on Intelligence: Decoding the Status of National Security" and will be held on Thursday, September 27th, at 6:30pm in Langford Auditorium.

Attend either (or both) events and write a blog post of at least 300 words about what you learned to get 10 (or 20) bonus points on your next problem set!

Paper #1 - Little Brother

See below for your first paper assignment, along with the provision rubric I'll use to evaluate your papers. Please note the various deadlines listed in the assignment. We'll talk about the assignment in class, but feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about it.

Relatively Prime

Below are the pairs of relatively prime numbers that you generated at the end of class on Monday. At least one of these pairs is not, in fact, relatively prime. (I submitted an incorrect answer to Top Hat.) Can you find the pair that's not relatively prime?

  • 128 and 243
  • 105 and 128
  • 100 and 113
  • 101 and 103
  • 103 and 107
  • 119 and 143
  • 170 and 313
  • 121 and 164
  • 110 and 111
  • 224 and 297
  • 234 and 325
  • 121 and 169
  • 211 and 212
  • 247 and 595

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