1. 19

  2. 3

    I really don’t mean this in a dismissive way at all. But I think this:

    Mike Rosulek is a cryptographer and associate professor in the School of EECS at Oregon State University. He has taught cryptography for over 12 years.

    is not a good biography. When deciding whether The Joy of Cryptography is likely to be worth reading, it would be more helpful to see examples of what the author has built and how it has been used. There has been a great deal of uninteresting cryptography instruction over quite a bit more than the past 12 years. While the title and school are certainly distinctive, I believe more specifics are needed to make the activity “has taught cryptography” worth reporting.

    A biography that conveys more information about the author’s background than that milquetoast blurb would make me more likely to pick this up and read it.

    1. 3

      What does building things have to do with pedagogy? I’ve met prolific developers who were horrible teachers and great teachers who hardly ever wrote code. The textbook is also focused on cryptography theory, not practice, which is much less “building things” and much more “writing proofs”, which I can assure you the author has done a lot of.

      1. 1

        I’m sure it’s just the lens of my own experience, coupled with the fact that I’m reading and posting on a site where the topic is computing as opposed to mathematics, that caused my mind to jump to applications of cryptography as opposed to its theoretical basis. The fact that the only biographical fact presented is that the author is a CS professor at an engineering school probably contributed to that, too. That said, if I edit my request to be “examples of what the author has proven” as opposed to “built”, I think it stands pretty well.

        If I see a book or a paper about cryptography theory with a very general title and a list of generic topics in the table of contents from, say, Adi Shamir, Alfred Menezes, Ralph Merkle, or Ron Rivest, I can make a pretty good guess about whether I’m interested thanks to familiarity with the author’s work.

        With an unfamiliar author, I scan the preface and the bio first to see if it’s likely worth setting aside time to read. On this book, the preface tells me that this book is about provable schemes for maintaining confidentiality, authenticity and integrity. The bio tells me the author is a teacher.

        My suggestion was simply to tell why it’s worth reading this author’s take on these very well-tread topics. I clearly obfuscated that by choosing the word “built”. That was unintentional.

    2. 3

      If you want to know more about the author, his name is linked to his home page, where you can read about his research and publication record.

      Note that the scope is cryptography theory (provable security, in particular), not applications—that’s noted explicitly in the book. At a first glance, it seems to me that it presents a tough topic in quite an accessible way.

      1. 2

        How does this compare to Dan Boneh’s MOOC?