Fall 2013: Cryptography Against Physical Attacks

Project Information

Students should complete a research project on a cryptographic topic of your choice, subject to instructor approval. You may work on the research project individually or in groups of two or three.  Suggested topics are posted below.

In the first stage of the project you will read papers in the selected area.  Based on that, you will then select a research problem or direction which you expect to make new progress in by the end of the semester.  I will be available to help you with both these stages, and expect to be updated about your progress throughout the semester.  You will be required to submit a short project proposal (before first stage) and a short midterm progress report (before the second stage), as well as a final report. Due dates:

Proposal: The proposal can be informal and should include the general area that you will be researching, a list of papers that you plan to read, and your goals for the project. At this stage it is fine for goals to be general, though if you do have very specific goals in mind, please include them in the proposal.

There is no set number of papers to be included on your reading list. This may vary depending on the project and area you choose. The instructor is available to help you compile an appropriate list of papers.

Progress Report: In the second stage you will specify your goals more clearly, typically in the form of a specific research problem you plan to resolve. Outline your planned approach towards satisfying these goals based on your readings and your study of the area. The instructor is available to work with you to come up with research problems in your chosen research area.

Final Report: Your final report will consist of a paper describing your new research result (including motivation and background), or, in case no new result was obtained, a literature survey, open problems, and description of attempted approaches to solve the problem as well as suggestions for the next research step.   

General Guidelines: In general there are two main goals for a project in this class:

(1) You should acquire a substantial body of knowledge about the topic of your project. This will involve closely and carefully reading literature on your specific project topic (likely to be several papers). You'll demonstrate this aspect of your project in the "background" section(s) of your project report, which should be a clear synthesis and exposition in your own words of what you learned.

(2) You should gain research experience in this area; i.e. make a serious effort to contribute to the state of knowledge on your project topic by (i) identifying an interesting open question or direction for future research related to your project topic; (ii) coming up with an approach to make progress; and (iii) working to carry out your approach. You'll demonstrate this aspect of your project by explaining in detail what you did for (i), (ii) and (iii) in the rest of your project report.

The ratio of (1) to (2) may vary between different projects. There are some projects that might involve relatively less background (but in that case you will be expected to spend more time -- and give more evidence of time well spent) -- on trying to make research progress; and there are other projects where you'll need to acquire more extensive background.

Suggested Topics

Note that after each topic one or two selected papers are listed. These are not meant to be comprehensive lists, but just to start you off. Checking the bibliography of the selected papers is a good way to find additional reading material.
The first set of topics are related to Cryptography against physical attacks. You may also pick other topics related to cryptography or security. See below for an additional list of suggested topics in Cryptography.
Additional Topics: