CS 854 (Fall 2006) - Hot Topics in Computer and Communications Security

Location and time: DC 3313, MW 2:30-4pm
Instructor: Urs Hengartner
Office hours: M 4-5pm or by appointment
Assignment (Sample solutions)
Paper reviews
Presentation reviews


December 18 - The class is over, grades have been submitted - Happy Holidays :)
December 18 - This class will be re-taught in Winter 2008.

Course Description

Our increasingly networked world and the upcoming of new technologies, such as RFID, trusted computing, or electronic voting, raise many security challenges. The goal of this course is to make students aware of these challenges and to introduce them to current research in computer and communications security. Students will also learn basic principles in security and cryptography. The course assumes a basic knowledge of computers, networks, and distributed systems, but does not assume any prior knowledge of security or cryptography.


The instructor will give several introductory lectures devoted to basic principles of security and cryptography. In the following lectures, two students will each present a research paper and lead a short discussion on the paper. All students should read the two assigned papers prior to a lecture and submit a short review for one of them. The reviews are due at noon on the day of the presentation of a paper. The (anonymized) reviews will be made available online. A review should address the following questions:
See the schedule for a list of the discussed topics and presenters. Each presenter should submit his/her slides before the lecture to the instructor.

Giving oral presentations is an important skill that grad students should train during graduate school. Feedback is essential for this training. Therefore, after every lecture, all students should submit a review for both presentations. The reviews are due at noon the day after a presentation. A presenter will have access to the (anonymized) reviews.


Students will work in groups of two on a project in which they will undertake novel privacy or security research. Possible ideas for projects will be mentioned in class. Students will have to submit a proposal, present their work in class at the end of the term, and write a workshop-quality report.


One assignment 5%
Paper presentations 25%
Paper reviews 10%
Class participation 10%
Project 50%