Courses offered by members of the cryptology and data security research group. Current courses are listed below. See also the past courses and the thesis projects.

Overview

Undergraduate level – Bachelor Informatik, University of Bern

Two yearly courses that introduce students to relevant areas in computer science and prepare for the advanced courses. Undergraduate courses are taught in German.

  • Diskrete Mathematik (Fall)

  • Algorithmen, Wahrscheinlichkeit und Information (Spring)

Graduate level – University of Bern and Joint Master in Computer Science

Topics span cryptology, security, distributed computing, privacy, and more.

Thesis projects

Fall 2021

  • Diskrete Mathematik (in German)

    Bachelor Informatik, University of Bern; KSL 11479; please register in ILIAS.

    Diese Vorlesung führt in diskrete Mathematik ein und behandelt eine Reihe von zentralen Methoden und Konzepten, welche wichtig sind für das tiefere Verständnis der Informatik. Diskrete Mathematik ist ein Teilgebiet der Mathematik, das sich hauptsächlich mit endlichen und abzählbaren Strukturen beschäftigt. Wichtige Themen sind zuerst Mengen, Relationen und Funktionen. Es folgen Grundlagen der Algebra und Zahlentheorie, welche auch für kryptographische Verfahren oder Codierungstheorie die Basis bilden. Darüber hinaus werden Konzepte aus der Graphentheorie vorgestellt und die Grundlagen der Logik eingeführt, insbesondere Aussagenlogik und Prädikatenlogik. Die Vorlesung dient auch der Vorbereitung auf weitergehende Themen der theoretischen Informatik, wie Berechenbarkeit, Komplexität, Effizienz und probabilistische Algorithmen.

    Kurssprache ist Deutsch. Unterlagen sind in Englisch.

  • Privacy and Data Security

    University of Bern and Joint Master in Computer Science; KSL 471352; please register in ILIAS.

    The reliance of the information society on pervasive networks, mobile computing, online services, and cloud platforms continues to grow. The privacy of human activities and the security of personal data are challenged by today’s information technology in ways never seen before in history. This course focuses on privacy and security in a digital world. It presents cryptographic and non-cryptographic methods relevant for protecting privacy, anonymity, and data security. Topics include pseudonymity, data anonymization and de-anonymization, notions of privacy and privacy regulation, measures for the privacy of data, steganography and traffic hiding, network anonymity, and censorship resistance. Systems like onion routing (TOR) and Freenet are presented. Knowledge in computer science and networking is needed, but no background in cryptography is expected.

  • Seminar: Cryptography and Data Security

    University of Bern and Joint Master in Computer Science; KSL 453835; please register in ILIAS.

    The seminar in cryptology and data security covers various relevant topics in the area and its contents will change from one semester to another. Typical subjects are cryptographic protocols, secure computation, privacy, distributed trust and blockchains. A seminar will start with an overview of the topic, where some basic principles are introduced. The main content will typically consist of interactive presentations by the participants, on the basis of the existing literature, ranging from classic research papers to recently developed systems. In addition, students as well as members of the cryptology and data security research group will present their own current work.

    Theme of the seminar in Fall 2021

    Advances in blockchain technology: From Layer 1 to Layer 2

    Blockchain networks power cryptocurrencies and enable automated decentralized-finance (DeFi) solutions through smart contracts. These protocols rely on cryptography and on algorithms for distributed consensus. The pioneering systems, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are too slow to support the transaction workload envisaged for the future.

    Several next-generation blockchain protocols have become prominent and aim at addressing this issue by replacing the core protocols. These solutions are said to work on “Layer 1” or “L1”, which is the core protocol that defines the security of a network. Such protocols rely on proof-of-stake consensus, for example.

    Other solutions enhance blockchain networks outside the core protocols, at the so-called “Layer 2” or “L2”. Typically they rely on the core protocol and on the state maintained at L1 for their security, but enhance the functionality and speed of a network.

    This seminar explores recent advances blockchain technology that tackle scalability, interoperability, and more.

    Topics:

    • Next-generation blockchain protocols (L1)
      • Algorand, smart contracts on Algorand
      • Cardano, smart contracts on Cardano
      • Decentralized storage: Filecoin
      • Sharding and proof-of-stake in Ethereum 2.0
    • Blockchain scalability (L2)
      • Payment channels for Bitcoin: Lightning network
      • Scaling through parachains: Polkadot
      • Optimistic rollups: Offchain Labs Arbitrum
      • Zero-knowledge rollups: StarkWare
    • Infrastructure for decentralized finance
      • Oracle networks: Chainlink
      • Inter-blockchain communication
      • Internet of blockchains: Cosmos and the Cosmos Hub

Spring 2021

  • Algorithmen, Wahrscheinlichkeit und Information (in German)

    Bachelor Informatik, University of Bern; KSL 451670; please register in ILIAS.

    Diese Vorlesung führt das Gebiet der randomisierten Algorithmen und probabilistischen Verfahren ein, welche heute in der Informatik eine grosse Rolle spielen. Darüber hinaus werden auch die Grundlagen der Informationstheorie und der Begriff der Entropie vorgestellt. Probabilistische Methoden und Analysen treten in vielen Gebieten auf, in der Kommunikation, in Machine Learning, zur Datenanalyse und in der Kryptologie. Nach einer Einführung in die Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung mit diskreten Ereignissen werden wichtige probabilistische Methoden und deren Analyse behandelt, so zum Beispiel Abschätzungen mittels Chernoff-Bounds und die probabilistische Methode. Randomisierte Algorithmen auf Graphen und in der Zahlentheorie werden diskutiert. Entropie als Informationsmass wird eingeführt und Methoden für Codierung und Datenkompression behandelt.

    Kurssprache ist Deutsch. Unterlagen sind in Englisch.

  • Cryptographic Protocols

    University of Bern and Joint Master in Computer Science; KSL 468672; please register in ILIAS.

    Description

    How do you authenticate online without disclosing any identity or password? Could a cloud service process encrypted data? How can individuals safeguard their privacy against ubiquitous online services? How do cryptographic voting protocols solve the conflicting goals of authorizing all voters while maintaining their privacy? Will Big Brother always be able to watch every one of your actions on the Internet, or can you hide your data from future cloud systems? Can one distribute a cryptographic operation among a group of participants such that any minority of them may try to cheat but will not succeed? How can two millionaires compute who is richer without disclosing their wealth to each other?

    This course gives an introduction to the amazing world of cryptographic protocols with multilateral security. They realize such diverse goals as zero-knowledge proofs, secure multi-party computation, private online elections, auctions without trusted parties, distributed threshold cryptosystems and more. These methods have been developed over the last decades and start to find applications on the Internet today, ranging from nation-wide electronic voting and secure cloud platforms to cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

    Requirements

    Students are expected to have background knowledge in cryptography, covering notions such as public-key encryption and digital signatures. Ideally they have taken the course “Cryptography,” which is offered in the Fall Semester immediately before, but this is not strictly required.

  • Seminar: Cryptography and Data Security

    University of Bern and Joint Master in Computer Science; KSL 453835; please register in ILIAS.

    The seminar in cryptology and data security covers various relevant topics in the area and its contents will change from one semester to another. Typical subjects are cryptographic protocols, secure computation, privacy, distributed trust and blockchains. A seminar will start with an overview of the topic, where some basic principles are introduced. The main content will typically consist of interactive presentations by the participants, on the basis of the existing literature, ranging from classic research papers to recently developed systems. In addition, students as well as members of the cryptology and data security research group will present their own current work.

    The seminar in Spring 2021 will focus on security and privacy in machine learning.

    Topics include:

    • Evasion attacks (a.k.a. adversarial samples)
    • Poisoning attacks
    • Model extraction
    • Membership attacks
    • Defensive techniques
    • Impact on real-world applications of ML

     

  • Interdisciplinary Seminar in Civil Law and Computer Science: Distributed Trust and Blockchain

    University of Bern and Joint Master in Computer Science; KSL 469910; ILIAS link.

    Civil law and computer science

    The Institute for Civil Law and the Institute of Computer Science will hold an interdisciplinary seminar on the topic “Distributed Trust and Blockchain”. Students of computer science and law and will work closely together on questions concerning the blockchain and its potential in the legal domain. The goal of the seminar is to explore how the characteristics of blockchain technology can support the transfer and enforcement of rights.

    Participants will work in interdisciplinary groups and relate their work to practical problems that arise when regulators and practitioners aim at digitalizing the legal world. In doing so, participating students will hopefully design and discuss truly innovative concepts for issues that have arisen or may arise in practice when creating, transferring or enforcing rights in real-world scenarios such as collateralizing assets or dealing with securities.

    Information event: 16 December 2020, 17:30h online, send email for obtaining the details.

    Please see the information sheet on how to register for participation.

    Places are limited and registration is required.

Earlier semesters

  • Past courses

    Information about courses in earlier semesters can be found in the archive.