CS838 Fall 2013: Computer Security

Instructor: Thomas Ristenpart
Email: rist at cs dot wisc dot edu
Office hours: Monday 11:00am-12pm
Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:30 - 10:45 am
Location: 1263 CS



This course will be an introduction to research in computer security. We will cover a wide range of topics, ranging across software security, web security, e-crime, cryptography, embedded system security, and more. The goal will be to introduce students to, and prepare them to perform new, computer security research, and as such the course will focus on reading and evaluating papers as well as two projects.


There are no formal prerequisites for this course. However, I'll assume knowledge of undergraduate level operating systems, networking, programming languages, and such. Having taken an undergraduate class in security will be helpful but not requisite. If you have any questions ask me.


Students will be responsible for reading papers. We'll average 2 papers a week, so there will be a reasonable amount of reading. Students will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss the day's paper(s).

Evaluation will be by (1) classroom participation, including probably an occasional written preparation to lead group discussion and/or scribing requirement (writing up details of a classroom discussion); (2) one or possibly two small exams to be determined; (3) a mini-project near the beginning of the course; and (4) a final project.

Tentative syllabus:

We are using a Google doc for the authoritative schedule. Email me to get access to it. I'll post the final schedule here, when the class is near ending.

Mini-project choices:


Final project ideas:

I'll have a list of specific example projects for the course in the first couple weeks of the class.