PHYS 316
Protecting Information: Applications of Abstract Algebra and Quantum Physics Spring 2017
Division III Quantative/Formal Reasoning
Cross-listed PHYS 316 / MATH 316
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Living in the information age, we find ourselves depending more and more on codes that protect messages against either noise or eavesdropping. This course examines some of the most important codes currently being used to protect information, including linear codes, which in addition to being mathematically elegant are the most practical codes for error correction, and the RSA public key cryptographic scheme, popular nowadays for internet applications. We also study the standard AES system as well as an increasingly popular cryptographic strategy based on elliptic curves. Looking ahead by a decade or more, we show how a quantum computer could crack the RSA scheme in short order, and how quantum cryptographic devices will achieve security through the inherent unpredictability of quantum events.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 50
Expected: 35
Class#: 3234
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on homework sets and exams
Prerequisites: PHYS/MATH 210 or MATH 250 (possibly concurrent) or permission of instructors;
Enrollment Preferences: discretion of the instructors
Unit Notes: students not satisfying the course prerequisites but who have completed MATH 200 or MATH 209 are particularly encouraged to ask to be admitted
Distributions: Division III Quantative/Formal Reasoning
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PHYS 316 Division III MATH 316 Division III

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