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CSCI E-170 Calendar - Fall 2004

General Information

Catalog description // Communication // Grading // Collaboration // Class meetings // Staff //

Catalog description

Security, Privacy and Usability

Usability and security are widely seen as two antagonistic design goals for complex computer systems. This course challenges convention wisdom and encourages students to discover ways that security, privacy and usability can be made synergistic in system design.

Topic include computer forensics, network forensics, user interface design, backups, logging, economic factors affecting adoption of security technology, trust management and related public policy. Case studies such as PGP, S/MIME, SSL will be used. Basic cryptography and hash function will be introduced as needed. Coursework includes analysis of papers, problem sets, and a substantial term project.


For announcements and assignments, the Web is our authoritative form of communication. Students are expected to check the CSCI E-170 home page for both news and assignments at least once a week. If you hear a rumor, check it there. If you miss an announcement, it should be on the home page.

Grading Policy

Grades in CSCI E-170 are based on three components: class participation, homework, quizzes, and a final project. They are weighted as follows:

Final Project30%
Quiz #115%
Quiz #215%
Class Participation15%

The Final Project is the largest contribution to your grade. This project is a significant project involving original work that examines some aspect of security discussed in the course. Final projects will be done in teams of two or three students. Suggested final projects will be made available on the course website.

There will be two quizzes in this course. The first will be an in-class quiz and the second will be a take-home. There is no final exam.

As this is a survey class of current research in computer security, privacy and usability, we will be reading and discussing research papers. As such, Class Participation is an important part of the experience. Your grade for class participation will include your contributions on the class website, your attendance, and your preparation.

Note: (1) You must hand in a final project to pass CSCI E-170. If you don't hand it in, you will receive an F for the subject as a whole. (2) If you don't participate (by taking part in the online discussions and, if you are not a distance student, regularly attend class), you will receive an F for both the class participation and the homework grade, even if you have faithfully handed in the assignments.


It is strongly recommended that you discuss the readings and assignments with your classmates. However, you are expected that the work that you submit is your own. Help from others and articles that you consult in the preparation of your assignments and final project should be appropriately referenced in a consistent manner. You may not collaborate on the quizzes.

Class meetings

Lectures will be held on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 - 7:30pm in Emerson Hall 108


Simson L. Garfinkel
Office Hours by appointment.

Teaching Fellow
Erik Nordlander

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