ISA 780 Theoretical Foundations of System Security

Prof. Ravi Sandhu and Prof. Duminda Wijesekera

Fall 2006, Monday 4:30pm - 7:10pm, Innovation 206

Note to doctoral students: This course, along with IT 862, is required of ALL doctoral students in the Information Security and Assurance track.  INFS 780 is a pre-requisite for IT 862 (which will be offered jointly by Prof. Sandhu and Wijesekera in Spring 2007).  The course will also be useful to doctoral students outside of the security area and also to MS students.

Pre-requisites: INFS 501 or equivalent knowledge of Discrete Mathematics. 

Important Notice:

  • Watch this space for important announcements throughout the course. Recent announcements will be highlighted in red.
  • The first half of the course will be taught by Prof. Ravi Sandhu and the second half by Prof. Duminda Wijesekera.
  • Both halves of the course have equal weight for the overall grade.
  • The first half is described on this page. For the second half consult Prof. Duminda Wijesekera's teaching web page.
  • Please do not sign up for this course unless you have completed INFS 501 or equivalent.
  • This is a fast-paced and mathematically sophisticated course with high expectations of the students.
  • Do not expect much help or hand-holding outside the lectures.
  • For each lecture review the solved exercises and problems in the book and try some of the others on your own.
  • Look forward to an exciting course!


  • Each lecture will include an assignment which is due in the following class.
  • Late assignments will not be accepted.
  • The assignment is to be solved without any assistance from anybody.
  • Solutions should be neatly handwritten or typed. Points will be deducted for shabby submission.
  • Each solution should be accompanied with the following signed statement: "I have neither received nor provided any help in this assignment and it is my personal effort."

Schedule of Classes and Assignments: Please read ahead and come prepared to get maximum benefit from lectures.

    Part I: Theory of Computation

  • 8/28/06: Regular Languages, Sipser Chapter 1 (Read Chapter 0 of Sipser prior to first lecture)
    Assignment 1 (due 9/11/06 in class): (1) Sipser p27 problem 0.11 (2) Sipser p88 problem 1.31 (3) Sipser p89 problem 1.36
  • 9/4/06: Labor Day. No Lecture.
  • 9/11/06: Regular Languages, Sipser Chapter 1. Turing Machines, Sipser Chapters 3
    Assignment 2 (due 9/18/06 in class): (1) Sipser p86 exercise 1.16 (2) Sipser p86 exercise 1.21 (3) Sipser p88 exercise 1.30 (4) Sipser p160 exercise 3.7
  • 9/18/06: Turing Machines, Sipser Chapters 3, 4
    Assignment 3 (due 9/25/06 in class): (1) Sipser p161 problem 3.11 (2) Sipser p183 exercise 4.2 (3) Sipser p183 exercise 4.3
  • 9/25/06: Turing Machines, Sipser Chapters 4, 5
    No assignment this week.
  • 10/2/06: Time Complexity, Sipser Chapter 7
    Assignment 4 (due 10/9/06 in class): (1) Sipser p295 exercise 7.8 (2) Sipser p295 exercise 7.11 (3) Sipser p295 problem 7.17
  • 10/10/06 (class meets Tuesday 10/10/06 NOT Monday 10/9/06): Time Complexity, Sipser Chapter 7
    No assignment this week.
  • 10/16/06: Examination on Part I: (i) Closed book component 4:30pm-5:15pm 40%, (ii) Open book component 5:20pm-7:10pm 60%.
  • Part II: Mathematical Logic

  • 10/23/06: Second half of the course on Logic. Consult Prof. Duminda Wijesekera's teaching web page.

Grading Policy:

  • Grades will be based on examinations (25%), assignments (20%) and class participation (5%) for 50% overall for this portion of the course.  Final grades will be “curved” based on overall class performance.

Course Structure and Textbooks:    


Archives: Fall 2004 | Fall 2003