CS 665 Advanced Computer Security

This graduate course explores topics in computer security. We focus on reading recent research papers. There is also a heavy emphasis on writing reviews of the papers we read. Students have opportunities to present the key ideas of a paper to the class. Students also write a survey paper on a current topic in the field.

Winter 2018 Class Meetings

Winter 2018 Class Meetings: 120 TMCB Tu/Th 3:00-4:15

Prerequisites: CS 465, CS Graduate Student or Instructor Consent


Dr. Kent Seamons
Office: 2230 TMCB
Phone: 801-422-3722
Email: seamons –AT– cs dot byu dot edu
Office hours: by appointment


  • Develop a deep understanding of some state-of-the-art computer security research topics
  • Improve critical analysis skills
  • Improve technical writing skills
  • Improve verbal presentation skills
  • Gain experience identifying a research topic
    • Identify and understand the research related to a specific security topic
    • Identify an open research question related to your topic
    • Write a survey paper
      • Focus primarily on what is the problem and what have others done to solve it
      • Where possible, propose some new way(s) to solve the problem
      • Use the MS thesis proposal five-question outline from the graduate handbook as a guide

Learning Activities

  • Regular writing assignments
    • 1 page, 11 pt font, 8×11 paper, pdf format (300-400 words)
    • Submit online using Learning Suite for Dr. Seamons to review
    • Suggestion: solicit one external review before submitting an assignment
  • Regular reviews of other student’s writing assignments
    • Constructive feedback on both content and presentation
    • Recommended reading: Elements of Style
  • Class presentations
    • Each research paper we read will have a primary presenter
    • Spend 15 to 20 minutes to summarize key points of the paper
    • Prepare slides (10+), Concise, Clear, Graphics
    • Present your own critique of the paper
    • Presenter will upload slides instead of a peer review
  • Individual survey paper
    • Deliverable: research proposal/survey paper (4000-5000 words)
    • See thesis proposal guidelines in graduate handbook
    • Verbal presentation during final exam time slot

Guidelines for writing paper reviews

  • Length - 300-400 words
  • Format - pdf
  • What is the key contribution of the paper. Summarize the main points (1 paragraph)
  • Discuss strengths (1 paragraph)
  • Discuss weaknesses (1-2 paragraphs)
    • This should be your primary focus
  • What questions do you have about the paper?
  • What recommendations do you have to improve the paper or build on the results
  • If you run short of things to talk about, focus on summarizing the paper concisely


  • Students are expected to assume primary responsibility for learning
    • Unstructured and self-directed
  • Time commitment: 9 hour/week average (including class time)

Grade Distribution

  • Grades will be based on the following (tentative) distribution:
    • 45% Survey paper
    • 45% Homework
    • 10% Class participation (discussion, peer review)
cs-665/course-information.txt · Last modified: 2017/12/22 22:04 by seamons
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