Secret Codes & Online Security

GEN ST 162

In this course you’ll learn about the history of cryptography, modern commercial cybersecurity, number theory, graph theory, computer science, civil liberties and the National Security Agency.

Course Curriculum and Features

In this course we’ll explore mathematics, including an introduction to the number theory and graph theory of secret codes; computer science, including the running times of algorithms and design of protocols; history, including World War II cryptography and the development of commercial cryptography in the computer age; and public policy, including topics such as cybersecurity, the cybercrime underworld, privacy, NSA activities, Bitcoin, online voting and the smart grid.

The math and computer science component will include hands-on computation projects and recreational cryptography; you’ll complete a project and a make a presentation in the second half of the course. We’ll also have a guest speaker from the UW cybersecurity office and take a field trip to Microsoft.

Designed For

All of those with diverse interests are encouraged to enroll — there are no prerequisites or other requirements.

Attendance and Workload

All Early Fall Start courses require the same amount of academic work as any other UW course, and full attendance and participation is required.


Neal Koblitz
Professor, Department of Mathematics

Dates & Times

Aug 22–Sep 15, 2017

UW Seattle
9 a.m.–11:30 a.m.