|US Mail:||Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science
College of the Holy Cross
1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610
Ciphers and Heroes, Fall 2014:
How are secret codes constructed? What weaknesses allow many of them to be cracked by clever analysts? Welcome to cryptology, the scientific study of encoding and decoding secret messages. We will explore many cryptosystems, investigating their strengths and weaknesses, and surveying their historical developments, setbacks, and implications. This semester we focus on cryptosystems such as the shift ciphers used by Caesar, the Vigenere cipher used during the Victorian era, and most thrillingly, the ENIGMA cipher used during World War II. Along with the mathematics of these ciphers, we will discover fascinating facts about their creators and the clever analysts who crack the codes, including the Polish and British heroes who cracked the seemingly unbreakable ENIGMA.
Privacy in the Digital Age, Spring 2015:
How does Amazon.com keep your credit card information secure when you order online? What weaknesses can hackers exploit, in their quest to steal your identity online? Secure electronic communication is vital to today's society, and modern cryptosystems are at the heart of this enterprise. Most of these systems are based on the mathematics of elementary number theory, and the stunning development of public key cryptography, a revolutionary concept born in the computer revolution of the 1970s. This semester we focus on these modern cryptosystems, the visionaries who created them, and the advances in computing that have made them secure.
M. Frechette on Jan. 24, 2004
Last modified by Sharon M. Frechette on October 14, 2013