Math 103, Section 99, Spring 2000
Meeting Monday and Wednesday 4th period (1:10-2:30) in ARC-203 on Busch Campus
Below is a description of this section of Math 103. The content, text, and instructional goals of this
section are very different from those of the other Math 103
sections. If you are interested in enrolling in this section, please
read this web page.
We'll study the mathematics underlying communication. We will discuss
some of the public policy problems which have accompanied increased
capabilities modern mathematics and computers have allowed. The course
was given on an experimental basis to a small group of students during
the fall 1999 semester and will be given again in spring 2000. The
course is intended for students majoring in the social sciences and
Outline of topics
The mathematical topics to be covered include secret sharing, public
key encryption, the work involved in various computational algorithms,
current systems used for encryption and decryption, and information
hiding. The public policy issues to be discussed include the privacy of
medical records, cryptographic policy of the U.S. and foreign
governments, and copyright in the digital era. Many of the topics to
be studied are relevant to commerce on the web, are changing almost daily,
and are somewhat controversial.
Students will be expected to write several short papers, keep up with
daily homework assignments, and take two exams with both mathematical
and policy content. Much of the work in class and out will be done by
students working in small groups.
Some students now learning this material have stated that "only
high school algebra" is necessary (manipulation of polynomials,
graphing of straight lines and appreciation of arithmetic). While this
may be literally true, a great deal of the mathematics involved will
seem decidedly non-standard since it has been developed to respond to
communication and computation in the twentieth century. Students will
also need the ability to read graphs of data sets and create such graphs.
Students in the course must have an account on Eden or a similar
Rutgers system. They will need to use computer resources for text
preparation, for e-mail, and for computation. Each student should also
have a calculator. Students do not need to know how to write computer
Students should plan to attend every class. Attendance will be a major
component of the course grade and this requirement will be interpreted
strictly. The majority of classes will have activities in class
preparing students for homework. Much of the material covered in the
course is not available in texts at an appropriate level. The text
suggested (Cryptology by Beutelspacher, published by the
Mathematical Association of America) has only some of the material.
How to enroll
Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
the following information:
Please write Math 103:99 as the subject of your e-mail message.
If there is room in the course and if you satisfy the prerequisites
(see below), you will receive return e-mail with a special permission
number for this course, valid only for you.
- Your name
- Your expected graduation date
- A brief statement verifying that you have read the Math 103:99
course description and want to take the course.
Students taking Math 103 should have either passed Math 026 or Math
027 or placed into Math 103 or higher. Students who have not fulfilled
one of these prerequisites will be deregistered.
A more extended description of some possible topics in this course is
available. This course is one of several courses recently
introduced at Rutgers, partially funded by
the National Science Foundation. We hope to inform and excite
students about mathematics and science. We want to demonstrate clearly
the relevance and importance of what we teach.