SC 2014 Semilab: Codes and Ciphers

by Tanya Yurchenko

In this course, we describe the art of secret writing - cryptography. We will discuss codes throughout history, from encrypted notes of Caesar to secret correspondence of French kings to the Enigma machine of WWII and Cold War spies. We will pull apart some of the most famous codes and show how they can be broken. We will give students the tools to create their own codes and ciphers. This year we will spend more time discussing uses of cryptography in the modern world as an indispensable tool for protecting information in computer systems. This course will explain the inner workings of some cryptographic primitives and how to correctly use them: from AES encryption in financial transactions to public-key cryptography for secure online communication. We will talk about digital signatures, anonymous voting, error correction codes and quantum cryptology as well.

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