Math 470 (Section 502) -- Fall 2014

Communications & Cryptography

MWF 11:30-12:20, BLOC 117

Math 470 Homework

Maple Commands from Trappe & Washington

Matlab Commands from Trappe & Washington

Mathematica Commands from Trappe & Washington

Maple Examples from Class

Final Exam, Wednesday, Dec. 17 (10:30AM - 12:30PM, BLOC 117)

Exam 2, Monday, Nov. 17 (in class) Solution Key

Exam 1, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (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
  • RSA Algorithm and integer factorization
  • Diffie-Hellman, El-Gamal, and discrete logarithms
  • Hash functions
  • Digital signatures
  • Secret Sharing
  • Further applications as time permits

Course Information:

Instructor: Matthew Papanikolas

Office Hours: Mon. 2:00-3:00, Wed. 10:30-11:30; also by appointment

Office: Blocker 641H


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, and 12-13. Additional topics from the text may be covered as time permits. See below for a detailed weekly syllabus.

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.

Calculators: The use of calculators will be permitted on exams, but not laptops, tablets, smart phones, and any device with an internet connection.

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

Course Webpage:


Homework Problem Sets: 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 when calculating your homework average. Homework sets will be posted here

It is perfectly reasonable for students to collaborate on homework, but each student is expected to write up solutions individually. Students turning in nearly identical work may not receive full credit on assignments.

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


Oct. 8 (Wed.)

Nov. 17 (Mon.)

Dec. 17 (Wed.)


BLOC 117

BLOC 117

BLOC 117


Your final course grade will be determined by your performance on homework, writing assignments, and exams. The contribution of these items toward your grade are as follows:





Exam 1


Exam 2


Final Exam


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


Percentage of Total Points











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 (9/1-9/5): Sections 1.1-1.2, 2.1-2.4, Appendix B
Week 2 (9/8-9/12): Sections 2.6-2.9, 3.1
Week 3 (9/15-9/19): Sections 3.2-3.4
Week 4 (9/22-9/26): Sections 3.5-3.7
Week 5 (9/29-10/3): Section 3.8-3.10
Week 6 (10/6-10/10): Exam 1 on Wed. 10/8; Section 6.1
Week 7 (10/13-10/17): Sections 6.1-6.3
Week 8 (10/20-10/24): Sections 6.4-6.7
Week 9 (10/27-10/31): Sections 7.1-7.2
Week 10 (11/3-11/7): Sections 7.3-7.5
Week 11 (11/10-11/14): Sections 8.1-8.3
Week 12 (11/17-11/21): Exam 2 on Mon. 11/17; Sections 8.4, 9.1-9.2
Week 13 (11/24-11/26): Sections 9.3-9.4
Week 14 (12/1-12/5): Section 12.1-12.2, 13.1
Week 15 (12/8): Section 13.2
Wed., 12/17, 10:30AM-12:30PM: Final Exam

Course Policies:

Missed Work: Making up missed work (including missed exams 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 correct potential errors in homework problem sets). Students should regularly check their TAMU e-mail accounts.

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