INFS 780 Theoretical Foundations of System Security

Professor Ravi Sandhu

Fall 2004, Tuesday 4:30pm - 7:10pm, Innovation 134

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 (offered by Prof. Sandhu in Spring semesters).  The course will also be useful to doctoral students outside of the security area.

Note to MS students: This course is open to MS students.  Knowledge of the fundamental material taught in this course will be beneficial to security professionals throughout their careers.  MS students are encouraged to sign up so long as they are not scared of mathematics.  The insights obtained in this course will be useful throughout a security professional’s career.

Pre-requisites: INFS 501 or equivalent knowledge of Discrete Mathematics.  One or both of INFS 762 and INFS 766 are recommended as pre-requisites or co-requisites.

Important Notice:

  • 12/3/04: Schedule is posted here.
  • 11/6/04: Examination 2 is posted here
  • 9/23/04: Examination 1 is posted here
  • Please do not sign up for this course unless you have completed INFS 501 or equivalent.
  • This is a fast-paced course with high expectations of the students.  Do not expect much help or hand-holding outside the lectures.
  • Students must be internet, web and pdf (get Acrobat Reader here) capable.
  • Wherever possible papers required for this course are available to all GMU students via University Libraries -- Database Wizard .
  • Look forward to an exciting course!

Schedule of Classes: Schedule is tentative and subject to change as the semester proceeds.

  • 8/31/04: Finite State Machines, Sipser Chapter 1 (Read Chapter 0 of Sipser prior to first lecture)
  • 9/7/04: Turing Machines, Sipser Chapters 3, 4, 5 (substitute lecturer: Xinwen Zhang) Slides 2/page | Slides 4/page
  • 9/14/04: Turing Machines, Sipser, Chapters 3, 4, 5
  • 9/21/04: Complexity, Sipser, Chapters 7 and 8
  • 9/28/04: Examination 1 (no lecture) is posted here
  • 10/5/04: The safety problem in access control Slides HRU | Slides TG |  References 1 | References 2
  • 10/12/04: Columbus day (no lecture)
  • 10/19/04: The safety problem in access control Slides SPM
  • 10/26/04: Safety and expressive power of access control models Slides ESPM | References 3
  • 11/2/04: Safety and expressive power of access control models Slides TAM | References 4
  • 11/9/04: Examination 2 (no lecture) is posted here
  • 11/16/04: Examination 3 (no lecture) consists of an individual oral examination.  Schedule is posted here.
  • 11/23/04: Propositional Logic, Huth-Ryan Chapter 1
  • 11/30/04: Predicate Logic, Huth-Ryan Chapter 2
  • 12/7/04: Examination 3 continued (no lecture) consists of an individual oral examination.  Schedule is posted here.

Grading Policy:

  • Grades will be based on examinations.  Final grades will be curved based on overall class performance.

Course Structure and Textbooks:    

  • The course covers material from 2 textbooks as follows.
    • Lectures on the theory of computation
      Textbook: Introduction to the Theory of Computation, Michael Sipser, PWS Publishing 1997.
    • Lectures on logic
      Textbook: Logic in Computer Science, Michael Huth and Mark Ryan, Cambridge University Press, 2004, 2nd edition.
  • Additionally the course uses papers from the literature as specified.


Archives: Fall 2004 | Fall 2003