CSCI 7000 -- Project Page
Each student should select a paper
from the list below. If you prefer a paper not on this list, you
must submit it for approval by me. The only real requirements for the
paper you choose is that it is relevant to the course and it contains
non-trivial material. After you have selected a paper, you
must do the following:
- Tell me via email (not in person) which paper you have selected.
This is an individual report, and you cannot team up with other
students. You must send this email by Friday, 4/18. If
you are selecting a paper not on the proposed list, get approval
well in advance of this date in case it takes a while to settle
- By Tuesday, 5/6, you must submit a document which summarizes the
contents of the paper. You do not have to do an oral presentation
of the paper. Late reports will not be accepted, so I urge you
to pretend this deadline is much earlier if you anticipate that
early May will be a busy time for you.
The Report Itself
This isn't meant to be a hard project. It shouldn't take more than a
day or two to complete. After you have selected a paper, read it, study it,
look up references if you have to, or come to me if you cannot understand
some central part of it. Then write your report. Here are the requirements:
- It should be typed, single spaced, at least 11pt font, at least 1"
margins. Color is fine (and encouraged if you think it helps).
- It should be about 5 to 7 pages in length, but completeness and clarity
will determine my evaluation more than length. Don't babble on
endlessly just trying to fill out the page requirement; be terse
but complete. And if you come up short, add some more background
material (even if it's redundant with the class material).
- You should have the following sections in your report:
- What paper did you read: Title, Authors, One line abstract.
- What is the paper about: setting, problem, goal.
- What are the main results?
- What is your impression of the impact of this paper (you don't have
to go to the library and do a lot of research to answer this; give
me your informed opinion, try a web search, etc.)?
- Suggest related questions you think might be interesting which are
related to the topic of this paper. (You are not responsible for
ensuring that these questions have not already been answered by
The score on your report will be based on the difficulty of the paper you
select (obviously choosing an easy paper means you wouldn't get as many
"difficulty" points, but you can make up for this in other ways), clarity
of the write-up, and the depth of your personal insights. I know, it's
all very vague, isn't it?
- Easier Papers:
- Disposable Credit Cards by Rubin
and Wright. This paper describes how you might make credit cards disposable
so that credit card fraud is reduced. The scheme is quite simple.
- Locks by Matt Blaze. This is a
very simple paper and really shouldn't be on this list, but I'm adding it
for those of you who start your project the night before it's due. This
is about how physical locks are keyed. (It made the NY Times!)
- Whitebox Cryptography by
van Oorschot. This talks about code obfuscation; a very hot topic these
days. The context here is obfuscating block ciphers.
- Timelock Cryptography by Rivest, Shamir,
and Wagner (I think?!). They ask the interesting question: what if I want
to keep a secret for a specific amount of time and then release it. They
have one neat idea about forcing you to do a LOT of computation if you
don't have a secret key, or making it easy if you do.
- Moderate Papers:
- Generalized Birthday Paradox by
David Wagner. Mostly talks about probability theory and attacks based
on n-way collisions in the context of various cryptographic protocols.
- L-Collisions paper by Semanko.
Mike was a master's student at UCSD when he wrote this very nice paper.
It describes an attack on MACs which use a randomized string to get by
the birthday bound.
- RSA backdoors by Crepeau. He
investigates generating keys for RSA which provide backdoor access to
- Doing searches on encrypted
data by Wagner and Song and Perrig. Song was the principal researcher;
she was at Berkeley, now a prof at CMU. This paper looks at how you can
ask a remote untrusted server to search an encrypted database for you.
- Difficult Papers:
- SASAS attack by Birykov and
Shamir. This paper is basically an extension of the Square attack (tho
they don't really admit this) and assumes a good deal of knowledge about
linear algebra (you should know what "rank" means before delving in, for
- TWIRL. This paper is about factoring
integers and should only be attempted if you have a decent background in
number theory. But what a cool paper.