Math 187A: Introduction to Cryptography (Fall 2022)

Main Canvas Grades Applets Zulip

This course will be in person, UCSD and local regulations permitting.

The policies below will continue to be updated as UCSD and local authorities continue to update their regulations.

All the quizzes and the final exams will administered in person. There will be no exception to this rule.

California law prohibits any recording of communication without the express consent of all the attendees. You do not have my consent or any of the TA's consent to record any interactions (including but not limited to lectures, discussions, and office hours). It is therefore illegal to record and you would be liable to prosecution and civil suits.

Lecture: MWF 1-1:50pm in Ledden Auditorium

Instructor: Alina Bucur
Office: AP&M 7151
Office hours:

Discussion sections: Attending section is not mandatory and you can attend whatever section you want. Please check blink for your discussion time.

TAs: Poornima B Hargun Bhatia Tom Grubb
A05, A06 A03, A04 A01, A02
Zoom-only OHTu 2-3pm Th 5-6pm Th 12-1pm
Hybrid OHTh 3:30-4:30pm Tu 10-11am
HSS 5086 HSS 4072
In-person OH Tu 1-2pm
HSS 4012

Required text: none. Notes will be provided as handouts in class and/or online. For those who want to read more, a good reference is An introduction to mathematical cryptography by Hoffstein, Pipher and Silverman. (The link provides electronic access through UCSD library.)

Handouts: All handouts will be posted to Canvas. This includes lecture slides and sample quizzes.

Quizzes: There will be 5-6 quizzes administered Fridays during lecture. Sample quizzes will be posted on Friday the previous week.

Homework: There will be 1-2 computer assignments, one of which will be on codebreaking using the applets. Each computer assignment counts as one quiz.

Participation activities: There will be 3-4 participation activities. Together they add up to 1 quiz and they cannot be dropped. They can be completed remotely.

Final exam: M 12/05/22 11:30am-2:30pm, location TBA. Please note that by signing up for this course, you are agreeing to sit for the final examination at this date and time. The exam is not cumulative and it counts as 3 quizzes. This grade cannot be dropped. You do not need to bring a blue book to the final.

Grading: All grades are recorded on Gradescope and/or Canvas.
Only grades that appear in Gradescope in week 10 will be included in calculating the total score for the course.
The final will be worth as much as 3 quizzes. The computer assignment(s) count as 1 quiz (each). The participation activities together count as 1 quiz. They cannot be dropped.
It is your responsibility to make sure your grades are recorded in Canvas.
All tests will be open books and open notes. You will not need a computer for the any of the tests, but a calculator might be useful for some of the tests. If you do use a computer, you can only access the class website. No other websites, no messaging, no search engines, no communication of any sort with any other people, be they friends or enemies.
The lowest quiz score will be dropped. If you miss one quiz, your score will be 0 on it and that will automatically become your lowest quiz score and be dropped. The final exam grade will not be dropped under any circumstances.
Since these parameters have been chosen to be somewhat forgiving, no exceptions will be granted, nor will there be an opportunity to make up missed work. This applies even if you join the course late.
Any infringement of UCSD's academic integrity or harassment policies, including cheating on a quiz/hw/exam, will result in failing the class, as well as further disciplinary action. If you suspect a violation, please bring it to the attention of course staff immediately; we will also be monitoring Chegg and similar sites for suspicious activity.

There will be no curve in this class, and therefore no pressure to compete against other students. Grade cutoffs:

Percentage 97 93 90 87 83 80 77 73 70
Minimum grade A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C-

Grade Recording Errors:  If there is any mistake in the recording of your scores, you will need the original assignment/quiz in order for us to make a change. The error has to be reported within 1 week since it occurred. No error reports will be accepted after week #9 of the term.

Regrade Policy:  If you believe there might be an error in the grading and wish to have your quiz/homework regraded, you must observe the following rules.

  1. Regrade requests will not be considered later than 3 days after the material was graded.
  2. If you disagree with the TA's answer to your regrade request, you may ask for the instructor to review it. In order to do this, you must:
    • make your request within 24 hours of receiving the TA's answer
    • and
    • ask that they forward it to the instructor.
  3. Instructor review requests will not be considered later than 1 week after the material was graded.
  4. No regrade requests will be considered after week 9.

Letters of recommendation:  In general, you should try to get a letter of recommendation from a professor with whom you had some one-to-one contact. I will consider recommendation requests only from people who have placed in the top 25% of the class (in the past, this meant a grade of A+) and who have had some nontrivial interaction with me outside lecture (e.g. during office hours).

Communication: Most communication about the course will take place in Zulip; Zulip includes both a general discussion forum, available to all students in the class, and one-on-one direct messages. A link to join Zulip can be found in the Checklist survey on Canvas. You have to use your email to join Zulip. Once you have joined, please use DMs instead of email for questions about the course; I may not answer emails. All course communication is subject to UCSD's academic integrity and harassment policies.

Electronic devices: Please do not use devices (such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, iPods) for non-class-related matters while in class/section. No visual or audio recording is allowed in class/section without prior permission of the instructor (whether by camera, cell phone, or other means).