Math 470 (Section 500) -- Spring 2009

Communications and Cryptography

Tuesday & Thursday 3:55-5:10
BLOC 160

Math 470 Homework

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
  • Digital signatures
  • Further applications
Time permitting we will also study basics of Elliptic Curve Cryptography and/or Digital Signatures.

Course Information:

Instructor: Dr. Matthew Papanikolas

Office Hours: Tues. 11-12, Thurs. 1-2; also by appointment.

Office: 321 Milner

Office Phone: 845-1615


Textbook: The required textbook is An Introduction to Mathematical Cryptography, by Jeffrey Hoffstein, Jill Pipher, and Joseph H. Silverman, Springer, 2008, ISBN 978-0-387-77993-5.

Course Syllabus: The course covers most of chapters 1-4. Additional topics from chapters 5 & 7 will 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 (Matlab, GP/Pari, Mathematica, etc.) for your homework.

Prerequisites: Math 222 or Math 304 (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


Feb. 24 (Tues)

Mar. 31 (Tues)

May 12 (Tues)


BLOC 160

BLOC 160

BLOC 160


Your final grade will be determined by the total number of points obtained on exams and homework. Out of 450 total points, each component contributes to your grade as follows:





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. Homework assignments will be posted on this web page, so check back frequently!

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 correct potential errors in homework problem sets). Students should regularly check their neo e-mail accounts.

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