Theoretical Foundations of Cryptography

This course is an introduction to the theoretical foundations of cryptography. Emphasis will be on rigorous mathematical definitions of security, and proofs of security. Prerequisite: CS 173 and 273 or consent of instructor. Some mathematical maturity will be expected. Familiarity with basic theory of computation and complexity theory will be helpful.

Course objectives. By the end of the course, you should have a sound understanding of the methodology of the theory of cryptography: probability based definitions, various constructions, complexity theoretic primitives and proofs of security. You should be able to interpret security guarantees and verify their proofs. You would also gain familiarity with some of the most important cryptographic tasks, and schemes to realize them. For those interested in pursuing research in theoretical cryptography, this course would be a sound background.

Work involved. Attend the lectures; read and ponder over references/handouts given in class. Grading will be based on assignments (60%), easy/short class-tests (20%) and class-participation (20%). Assignments will typically be given out on a Wednesday and will be due in next week's Friday lecture. Class-tests will be announced a week in advance. Class participation includes, well, participation in the classroom, and scribing. Your scribe notes will go into the wiki.

Course contents. In the first half of the course we will cover secure communication (encryption and authentication). A good reference would be the Bellare-Rogaway notes. The latter half will focus on other important topics leading up to secure multi-party computation. As time permits, we will also see glimpses of a variety of other concepts and tools. Through out the course we will develop and use basic mathematical background, definitional methodology and proof-techniques.

Office hours. Prof. Prabhakaran's office hours are Wednesday 4-5pm, every week (unless otherwise announced here). TA Mike Rosulek's office hours will be on Monday 1-2pm.. Please do come for the office hours if you found anything mysterious (or missed anything) in the lectures, class-tests or assignments. You are also welcome to drop by and chat about the content/structure of the course during the office hours. Feel free to send us e-mails anytime if you have any questions or comments.