Final Project
CSC 233

For the final project, you will study some cryptographic subject of  your choice in more depth and write a short essay (5-6 pages) on it.


A study of a cryptographic subject of your choice. The timeline section details the due dates for the different stages of your work. The only restriction on the topic is that we cannot have talked about it in detail in class.

What to do:

Write a paper (around 1500 words, which will  be 5-6 pages excluding pictures and bibliography). Quality of writing and presentation will be a grading criterion (see evaluation below).

Format: The paper should have a title page (with your name, title of the paper, and a word count), and a bibliography. I encourage you to split the paper into sections with meaningful section titles.

Submission through TurnItIn:

Submit your final paper through TurnItIn (not COL or email). The deadline is midnight, 6/9. I will email class ID and password to you.

These are just the formal requirements. If you have questions about how to write a paper, please contact me. For general and specific questions on writing, the DePaul Writing Center is an important resource.


Whenever you use another person's work for your paper (be it off the web, from an article, or from a book), you need to acknowledge your use, and mark it explicitly as a quotation. Even if you paraphrase another text, you need to reference it. There are many different styles for preparing a bibliography, check, for example, Citation Style for Research Papers. For literature research, the DePaul Library offers access to many interesting databases, including worldcat, JSTOR (check the database resource page), and, of course, the library catalogue.


Feel free to do research to find your own topic; the topic should be relevant to cryptography and should have some technical content (though the emphasis can be on other aspects, like history). If you are interested in historical/technical aspects of cryptography, make sure you check out the journal Cryptologia (available online through our library, use the search box); for recent issues, with emphasis on security, check out Bruce Schneier's cryptogram. Here are some possible directions to explore to give you ideas:

Also, our librarian has created a page with some of the relevant cryptography materials held by the library. The following two books in particular are recommended as starting points:

The library also has access to ebooks and many journals that contain cryptographic material. In particular check out

  • Cryptologia, journal dedicated to mostly historical aspects of cryptology.
  • Journal of Cyrptology, journal dedicated to modern cryptology (most articles will require a good math or computer science background).


(Finishing the requirements in a timely manner, will be part of the grade.)

1. (By 5/12, 2%) Tell me which subject you have chosen: topic, with a one-paragraph description of what aspects of the topic you are going to emphasize (historical, technical, etc.). For example (for a topic you can't choose, because we will discuss it in class):

Hebern Rotor Machine

My topic will be the Hebern rotor machine; I will talk about its history and some precursors (cipher disks), but will mainly concentrate on how to break the machine using known plaintext attacks, including worked examples.

2. (By 5/19, 5%) Submit a short proposal for your subject (about half a page). Include the following:

  1. literature that you are planning to study for the topic (this will require you to use the library resources to locate books and articles on your subject);

  2. a list of questions to which you want to find answers;

  3. a rough general outline of your paper (section titles)

This second stage assumes that you have started acquainting yourself with the material, without having gone into great depth yet. If availability of material is a problem, please talk to me, I can point you in the right direction. For the Hebern example above, a rough outline could go as follows (the core section would be Section 3):

  1. Hebern and the invention of the Hebern machine
  2. The origins of the Hebern machine
  3. Attacks on the Hebern machine
  4. The legacy of the Hebern machine: the rotors of Enigma

3. (By 5/26, 3%) Submit a detailed outline of your paper. This should not be a rough draft, but an outline that gives the general structure of your paper. Think about splitting your paper into short sections and what each section contains. The outline should be about a page long, and could be a list of the sections (by title), with short sentences describing the expected content for each section. 

4. (On 6/9, 90%) Submit final version of the paper to TurnitIn.


 The final paper counts for 90% of the total points; here are the criteria I will use to evaluate your paper:

Marcus Schaefer
Last updated: May 9th, 2011.