15827:  Special Topics in Cryptography (Fall 2017)



Vipul Goyal




F 1:30pm – 4:20pm


GHC 4215


Vipul at cmu.edu

Important: When sending me an email about the course, make sure your title starts with "[Teach]" (without the quotes).


Course Description


Course Focus: Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies. We will discuss the current state of art and future challenges. 


This is a seminar course on Cryptography. No prior background in cryptography is assumed. However, students should have mathematical maturity and be comfortable working with definitions and proofs.


The course will primarily consist of discussing a set of research papers published in Cryptography conferences over the last few years. Focus will be on understanding the key ideas and identifying cool new directions or problems for future. The students will be required to read up a paper and give a presentation in the class. The papers will be selected so as to minimize the required background. If you are not a Ph.D. student and still would like to take the course (because e.g. you have special interest in cryptography or cybersecurity), please email the instructor with as much detail about your background and interests as possible.



There will be no final exam. The grade will depend on: 1) the quality of presentation you give in the class (and how well you understand the paper), and, 2) participation in the other presentations in class. Extra points for coming up with any interesting original comment / observation on any of the papers.

List of Papers


Following is a list of papers we plan to cover in the class. More papers will be added as we go on:





Useful Books and Lecture Notes


There is no required or prescribed textbook for the course. Here are some general resources for background on cryptography: