MATH 175 - An Introduction to Cryptology
Fall 2013, Section 002
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Mathematics (MATH)
Department: LSA Mathematics
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Requirements & Distribution:
Honors, FYSem
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted to those who have completed a 200-level or higher Mathematics course.
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of department.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Permission of department.
Other Course Info:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


Introduces students to the science of constructing and attacking secret codes. An important goal is to present the mathematical tools — from combinatorics, number theory, and probability — that underlie cryptologic methods.

Background and Goals: This course is an alternative to MATH 185 as an entry to the Honors sequence. Students are expected to have previous experience with the basic concepts and techniques of first-semester calculus. The course stresses discovery as a vehicle for learning. Students will be required to experiment throughout the course on a range of problems and will participate each academic term in a group project.

Grades will be based on homework and projects with a strong emphasis on homework. Personal computers will be a valuable experimental tool in this course and students will be asked to learn to program in either BASIC, PASCAL or FORTRAN.

Content: This course gives a historical introduction to Cryptology and introduces a number of mathematical ideas and results involved in the development and analysis of secret codes. The course begins with the study of permutation-based codes: substitutional ciphers, transpositional codes, and more complex polyalphabetic substitutions. The mathematical subjects treated in this section include enumeration, modular arithmetic and some elementary statistics. The subject then moves to bit stream encryption methods. These include block cipher schemes such as the Data Encryption Standard. The mathematical concepts introduced here are recurrence relations and some more advanced statistical results. The final part of the course is devoted to public key encryption, including Diffie-Hellman key exchange, RSA and Knapsack codes. The mathematical tools come from elementary number theory.

Alternatives: MATH 115 (Calculus I), MATH 185 (Honors Calculus I), or MATH 295 (Honors Mathematics I).

Subsequent Courses: MATH 176 (Dynamical Systems and Calculus), MATH 186 (Honors Calculus II), or MATH 116 (Calculus II).


MATH 175 - An Introduction to Cryptology
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
8LSA Hnrs Y1
MTuWTh 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Th 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Note: This course is a First-Year Honors Seminar. Students not in LSA Honors may contact the Department for information about enrolling in this class--
002 (LEC)
 In Person
8LSA Hnrs Y1
MTuWTh 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Note: This course is a First-Year Honors Seminar. Students not in LSA Honors may contact the Department for information about enrolling in this class--

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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