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Re: textbooks

Kenshiro writes:
> I am planning to do take an independent study course in cryptography.  A
> professor here is interested in doing it with me, but neither he nor any
> other faculty members at this school is very knowledgeable about
> cryptography (hence his interest :).  I am looking for good (technical)
> books on cryptography which would work well as textbooks for undergraduate
> computer science majors with scant knowledge of number theory.

The right place to start is the new edition of Bruce Schneier's book,
Applied Cryptography, which will be coming out within a month. The old
edition will probably do until then. There are a number of other
books, but Bruce's is the One Stop Shopping center, and you can spend
years dredging up the things in the bibliography.

For flavor and motivation, you might also want to read the (unabridged
hardcover -- not paperback!) version of "The Codebreakers" by David
Kahn. I read this book as a child and I suppose it got me interested
in crypto for life -- the funny thing is, it appears that the same
experience inspired Whit Diffie to go off and co invent Public Key
Cryptography, so it is probably a history maker. However, I'll note
that its fluffy -- all it will do is give you a solid perspective on
how hard it is to do this stuff right and how important it is.