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I asked people to do the Diffie-Hellman homework problem and did get some volunteers. I even awarded a prize. Note that some methods of working with the problems yield a complaint by Maple saying "Error, object too large" (an outcome expected by me). Therefore computations must be done in an intelligent order.

Then I wrote the multiplication table mod 7, looked at the rows and
multiplied the non-zero rows. I deduced a version of Fermat's little
theorem (1640) even for really large primes. The row products (away
from the 0 edge) are always the same, and the row products are all
a^{p-1} times each other, so that a^{p-1}=1 mod p when
p is a prime. This went *very* slowly, and there was great
confusion about the algebra of exponents.

Then I recited Euler's generalization (1760) of the Fermat result, when the base of the modulus is the product to two different odd primes. I also recited Hardy's dictum about number theory being not too useful and observed that the "real world" was actually strongly contradicting his assertion. Last semester I had rushed through the proof of Fermat's theorem, and stated Euler's generalization, and then applied it all immediately to produce RSA. This was too much material too fast, and the result was a shambles. I resolved to proceed more slowly this time.

Mr. Radomirovic wrote some very nice material about RSA. I gave out
his introductory pages **[PDF|PS|TeX]** and the students and I
worked through the first two problems.

I reminded people that they could go to a presentation by Matt Blaze. In fact, my e-mail message about this was as follows:

Matt Blaze wrote the pointed and amusing essay, "My Life as an
International Arms Courier" (see http://www.epic.org/crypto/export_controls/blaze.html
if you've never read it). He works on cryptography and computer
security at AT&T. He has advised the U.S. government and worked with
various less official groups about the policy implications of crypto
and computer security regulations. His web site is http://www.crypto.com/ and he will
be giving a talk at Rutgers on
in the CORE Auditorium on Busch campus. A Scientist's Perspective on Secrecy, Spies, Cryptography, and Washington |

I had previously given students a copy of Blaze's essay. A number of the students did attend, and the presentation, about some of the public policy aspects of crypto, seemed to be quite well-received. The auditorium was full (some people were standing) and attendance seemed to be spread among faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and other members of the community.

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