Math 470 (Sections 200/501) -- Fall 2011

Communications and Cryptography

Tuesday & Thursday 12:45-2:00
HELD 105

Math 470 Homework

Maple Commands from Trappe & Washington

Maple Quadratic Sieve Search

Hamming Code Example

Final Exam, Friday, Dec. 9 (12:30-2:30, HELD 105)

Final Paper (Section 200 only)

Exam 2, Tuesday, Nov. 1 (in class) Solution Key

Exam 1, Thursday, Sept. 29 (in class) Solution Key

Course Description:

This is a course in cryptography and cryptanalysis. People have been developing methods for sending and receiving secret communications for centuries, and this course will focus on modern techniques from both theoretical and practical standpoints, especially on public key cryptosystems. Topics we will conver this semester include
  • Basic number theory
  • Classical cryptosystems
  • Public key cryptosystems
  • Diffie-Hellman, El-Gamal, and discrete logarithms
  • RSA Algorithm and integer factorization
  • Hash functions
  • Digital signatures
  • Coding Theory
  • Further applications as time permits

Course Information:

Instructor: Dr. Matthew Papanikolas

Office Hours: Tues. 10:30-11:30, Thurs. 3:00-4:00; also by appointment.

Office: 321 Milner


Textbook: The required textbook is Introduction to Cryptography with Coding Theory, 2nd Ed. by W. Trappe and L. C. Washington, Prentice Hall, 2006, ISBN 0-13-186239-1.

Course Syllabus: The course covers most of chapters 1-3, 6-9, 11, and 18. Additional topics from the text may be covered as time permits.

Computational Aids: We will frequently make use of computer algebra packages during the course of the semester. The main system we will use in class will be Maple, but you are free to use whichever package you prefer (Sage, Matlab, GP/Pari, Mathematica, etc.) for your homework.

Prerequisites: Math 304, Math 311, or Math 323 (Linear Algebra). The course will, however, be mostly self-contained.

Course Webpage:

Exam Schedule:

There will be 2 in-class exams during the semester, as well as a cumulative final exam. The dates and times are listed below.

Exam 1

Exam 2

Final Exam


Sept. 29 (Thurs)

Nov. 1 (Tues)

Dec. 9 (Fri)


HELD 105

HELD 105

HELD 105


Your final grade will be determined by your performance on exams, homework, and your final paper (if you are in the honors section). The contributions of the graded parts of the course are weighted as follows:


Sec. 200 Percentages

Sec. 501 Percentages







Exam 1



Exam 2



Final Exam



The following grade distribution will be used in determining final course grades:


Percentage of Total Points












Homework will be collected roughly once per week for a grade. Late homework will not be accepted, except as allowed by university policies on missed work (see below). Your lowest homework score will be dropped at the end of the semester. Homework assignments will be posted on this web page, so check back frequently!

Honors Information:

Students enrolled in the honors section of this course (Section 200) will also be assigned a 5 page paper on an additional topic to be determined through consultation with the instructor. These papers will be due in class on Tuesday, December 6. Additional information will be provided after the second exam.

Detailed Syllabus:

We will use the following schedule for lectures, covering material out of the given sections of Trappe & Washington. We will adhere to this schedule as closely as possible, though changes may be necessary as the semester progresses.

Week 1 (8/30, 9/1): Sections 1.1-1.2, 2.1-2.4, 2.7-2.12
Week 2 (9/6, 9/8): Sections 3.1-3.2
Week 3 (9/13, 9/15): Sections 3.3-3.5
Week 4 (9/20, 9/22): Sections 3.6-3.7
Week 5 (9/27, 9/29): Section 3.8; Exam 1 on Thurs. 9/29
Week 6 (10/4, 10/6): Sections 6.1-6.2
Week 7 (10/11, 10/13): Sections 3.9, 6.3
Week 8 (10/18, 10/20): Sections 6.4-6.7
Week 9 (10/25, 10/27): Sections 7.1-7.2
Week 10 (11/1, 11/3): Sections 7.2-7.4; Exam 2 on Tues. 11/1
Week 11 (11/8, 11/10): Sections 7.4-7.5, 8.1-8.2
Week 12 (11/15, 11/17): Sections 8.3-8.4, 9.1-9.4
Week 13 (11/22): Sections 18.1-18.2
Week 14 (11/29, 12/1): Sections 18.2-18.6
Week 15 (12/6): Review in class; Papers due for students in honors section (Section 200).
Fri., 12/9, 12:30-2:30: Final Exam

Course Policies:

Missed Work: Making up missed work (including missed exams, quizzes, and homework) will be arranged according to University policies only. A university approved excuse must be provided to the instructor in writing (e-mail is sufficient) within 1 working day for exams and within 2 working days for other work.

Academic Dishonesty: "An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do." It is not permissible to hand in the work of others for a grade, including work on exams, quizzes, and homework. You are allowed to discuss homework with others, but your write-ups are expected to be done on your own and in your own words. Copying the work of others will be prosecuted to the full extent possible under University policies. Please see the Honor Council Rules and Procedures on the web at

Disability Assistance: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Services in Cain Hall, Room B118, or call 845-1637. Students seeking speical considerations for an exam must contact this office several weeks in advance of the exam. For more information, visit

Copyright Information: All printed handouts and web materials are protected by US Copyright Laws. No multiple copies can be made without written permission of the instructor.

Contact Information: Course announcements may occasionally be made via e-mail (e.g. in case of a change to office hours or to clarify problems in homework sets). Students should regularly check their neo e-mail accounts.

Page maintained by Matt Papanikolas, Dept. of Mathematics, Texas A&M University.