course info for applied modern algebra
due to the move to online classes, much of this information is now defunct. updates about course policies, exams, grades, etc will be sent via emails through canvas.

instructor: me

goals: we will study cryptography and coding theory with an aim of learning some aspects of modern algebra and number theory and their practical applications, as well as gaining some basic programming skills.

text: the mathematics of encryption: an elementary introduction, by margaret cozzens and steven j miller

note (1): you have online access this text through the ou libraries

note (2): this text will be supplemented with other material

prerequisites: i expect everyone to be familiar with reading and writing proofs, as well as some basic linear algebra (e.g., as in our math 2513 and math 3333 courses).

class participation: class participation (e.g., asking questions) is highly encouraged. while attendance is not taken, not all material in class will be in the text.

computer labs: usually, friday classes will be used as "computer lab" periods, and you are encouraged to bring a laptop or other device suitable for programming on fridays. in the event that we use a different day of the week for a computer lab, this will be announced in advance in class.

we will use python 3 in this class. you are not expected to have any programming experience in advance, though of course any such experience will be helpful.

homework: there will be homework to turn in. this homework will include both written exercises and "lab homework" based off of the computer labs. the assignments will usually be posted on the course webpage about a week in advance. expect roughly 1 homework every 1-2 weeks. while you may discuss the problems with other students, you must write up (written and programming) solutions on your own. (do not copy.) you may turn 1 homework late (but within 1 week of the scheduled due date, and also not later than the last day of class) without penalty. in exceptional circumstances, i may grant additional extensions--if you need one talk to me.

exams: there will be 1 in-class midterm exam (tentatively, fri mar 13) and 1 final exam (th may 7, 8am). more info about the exams will be posted on the course website later in the semester. make-up exams are only given in exceptional circumstances at the instructor's discretion.

project (5383): only for students enrolled in 5383, there will be a project due towards the end of the semester, which consists of a written report and an in-class presentation. more details will be announced in class and posted on the course webpage later in the semester.

grades: at the end of the semester, i'm required to give you some grades. these will represent an approximation of my assessment of your understanding of the material and your effort in the course. the grades are weighted as follows:

(for students in 4383)
40% homework
20% midterm exam
40% final exam

(for students in 5383)
30% homework
10% midterm exam
30% final exam
30% project

based on the above grade composition, you will get a raw numerical average for the course. raw numerical scores will be assigned to preliminary letter grade according to a code determined at the end of the semester (i.e., a "curve"). e.g., the cutoff between and A and B might be 88% (it will not be higher than 90%, and each letter grade range will be at least 10%), but this will depend on the final distribution of numerical scores. (in general, i try to look for natural breaks in student grades and then make letter grade cutoffs in between, though this is not always possible.) if your numerical score is slightly below a letter grade cutoff, i will look at other factors (effort, improvement) and take another look at your final exam and/or project to consider "rounding you up" to the next letter grade.

to get a sense of how you are doing in the class, i will give you projected letter grades around the time of midterm exam. if you have questions about your performance or grade during the semester, please feel free to see me.

elevator policy: if one of the tower elevators is inoperative, class may start a few minutes late. if both of the tower elevators are inoperative, class may not start.

final remark: if you have a question about course policies or expectations, just ask.

oh, also there's some stuff my bosses make me say

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