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Math for Cryptography/Cryptanalysis

  1. Jun 13, 2009 #1
    Hi everyone,

    Pardon me if this question's been asked (and if it's in the wrong forum) - I Googled within PF, but couldn't find what I need.

    My question is: How much math do I need to begin learning cryptography/cryptanalysis? I'm not planning on becoming a security expert/codebreaker or anything of the sort; it's just something that interests me.

    As for my math experience, I'm currently taking Linear Algebra and Calc II in college, and will probably take Discrete Math next term (and I've also taken some programming classes) - where do I go from there?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2009 #2


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jun 13, 2009 #3
    Its also helpful to know something about information theory. Google Claude Shannon, FEC, source and channel coding, for starters.
  5. Jun 13, 2009 #4
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Jun 13, 2009 #5
    Cryptography is almost all math. However I found that the "traditional" math courses -- eg, calculus, linear algebra, etc are not very useful. Mostly what you need is modular arithmetic and prime number theory (eg, finding primes, factoring primes..).

    Take a course in Cryptography or Security
  7. Jun 14, 2009 #6
    Hey people,

    Thanks for the replies!

    Thanks for the recommendation - I'll try to look around for it. Neither my college library nor the large public libraries nearby seem to have a copy, so I might have to search in book stores.

    Thanks, will Google around for them. :)

    Thanks for your book recommendations, too. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the Katz/Lindell book in any nearby libraries either - so bookstores will have to be the way to go. As for the quantum cryptography book, I think I'll keep that one in mind for when I'm actually comfortable with using linear algebra. :)

    Thanks. I'll try to get into the Security course, but since it's offered something like once every two years, and it was just offered last term (I didn't have the prereqs, unfortunately), it might take a while :) I'll definitely look into studying some of it on my own, though.

    Based on the replies, it seems like I'll need to know discrete math, modular arithmetic and (prime) number theory, as well as some information theory. I'll definitely look into those areas. Thanks a lot!
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