MA3CEC-Cryptography and Error Correcting Codes

Module Provider: Mathematics and Statistics
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: MA1LA Linear Algebra and MA1FM Foundations of Mathematics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: MA4CEC Cryptography and Error Correcting Codes
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Basil Corbas


Type of module:

Summary module description:

To introduce and examine two of the most important and exciting contemporary applications of pure mathematics.

To introduce and examine two of the most important and exciting contemporary applications of pure mathematics.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students are expected to be able to:
Implement the RSA public key cryptosystem and use it to encode, decode and authenticate documents.
Construct error correcting codes capable of correcting a specific number of errors.
Understand the principles used to apply the error correcting codes.
Calculate probabilities of correct transmission of messages after the application of error correcting codes.

Additional outcomes:
The course provides a striking illustration of how abstract mathematical ideas can have vital applications in everyday life.

Outline content:
Modern cryptography, based on the concept of Public Key, makes possible the transmission of vast amounts of data in a secure way. The main topic is a detailed exposition of the RSA cryptosystem and how it can be used, not only for the secret transmission of messages, but also to provide digital signatures and authentication.
Error Correcting Codes help correct errors created by random noise in modern digital equipment. Without them, most digital electronic equipment we take for granted (like computers, CD or DVD players and so on), wouldn’t be able to function. They are based on some extremely fascinating mathematical ideas and this course provides a basic introduction to the concepts involved.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures supported by problem sheets.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
One examination paper.

Formative assessment methods:
Problem sheets.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    One examination paper of 2 hours duration in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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