Modern Information Protocols

Professor Ari Trachtenberg

Time:  Fall 2002.  Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-4pm.


Description:  Information is the currency of modern networks such as the internet, and information protocols manage this currency.  An effective power broker of this information must assure its clients speed, accuracy, security, and availability.  Both academia and industry have been grappling with these issues in a desperate attempt to keep up with explosive internet growth.


This course will explore state-of-the-art techniques for information transfer and maintenance.  Specifically, we will study selected interdependencies among four general concerns:  speed through data compression or source coding, accuracy through error-correction or channel coding, security through cryptography, and availability through distributed systems.  We shall focus on protocols currently in use or at the threshold of use, drawing from recent academic literature.  Students will be expected to present a relevant publication as part of the course.


Selected Tentative Topics:

·      data compression:  Huffman encoding; Lempel-Ziv variants; Lossy compression

·      error-correction:  Hamming, BCH, Reed-Solomon, LDPC codes, algebraic-geometry codes; trellis decoding; iterative decoding; code design

·       cryptography:  cipher encryption techniques and attacks, RSA encryption and attacks, McEliece’s cryptosystem, elliptic-curve cryptosystems

·       distributed systems:  resource discovery; data reconciliation; network synchronization



Exposure to finite fields and algorithmic analysis, as seen in sc504, sc546, sc561, or equivalent.  Necessary background will be reviewed.

May be applied to Networks Concentration