MIT – Fall 2020

Important information

About this course: This page
has all of the details.

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00pm – 2:30pm (Boston time)

   Per MIT rules, the course will actually begin at 1:05pm and will end by 2:25pm.

Location: Zoom (see Piazza for the link)

Tentative Schedule

The order of topics may change over the course of the semester,
but I will try to keep the due dates of the problem sets fixed.

M T W Th F
Weeks 1-2: Reminder of the preliminaries
31 Aug 1 Sept 2 Sept

Preliminaries I (notes)

  • Course intro
  • Merkle Puzzles


3 Sept 4 Sept
7 Sept – Labor day 8 Sept 9 Sept

Preliminaries II (notes)

  • Primitives: OWFs, PRGs, PRFs, PRPs


  • Boneh-Shoup
    The other subsections in Chapter 4 have really nice reference
    material on PRPs/PRFs in practice.

    on PRPs (Section 4.1) and PRFs (Section 4.4).

  • Goldreich
    If you have time and interest, it’s worth browsing some of the
    other sections of this textbook.
    It’s the canonical reference on these basic primitives.
    You will never go wrong by spending an hour or two with Goldreich.

    on GGM construction of PRF from PRG (Section 3.6).

10 Sept 11 Sept

Weeks 3-5: Hiding access patterns
14 Sept

Private information retrieval (notes)

  • Definition
  • CKGS protocol: Multi-server setting
  • PIR, single-server setting


15 Sept 16 Sept

PIR, extensions (notes)

17 Sept 18 Sept

HW 1 due at 5pm.

21 Sept

PIR, offline/online (notes)

22 Sept 23 Sept

Guest Lecture: Elette Boyle (IDC Herzliya)

Function secret sharing

  • Low-communication two-server PIR
  • Simple PIR by keywords
  • PIR for sum/range queries

Reading: Function Secret Sharing (Section 1 only)

24 Sept 25 Sept

28 Sept

More function secret sharing (notes)

  • DPF from one-way functions
  • Application: Private statistics

Readings: Rest of FSS paper from last lecture.
See also this paper
with additional optimizations.

29 Sept 30 Sept

Oblivious RAM I (notes)

  • Motivation and applications
  • Definitions, comparison with PIR
  • “Square-root” construction


1 Oct 2 Oct

HW 2 due at 5pm.

Weeks 6-10: Computing public functions of private data
5 Oct

Oblivious RAM II

  • Tree-based ORAMs


6 Oct 7 Oct

Secret sharing
8 Oct 9 Oct

12 Oct – Holiday 13 Oct

Unexpected Tuesday class

Multiparty computation
14 Oct

Guest Lecture: Susan McGregor (Columbia)

15 Oct 16 Oct

HW 3 due at 5pm.

19 Oct

Zero knowledge I
20 Oct 21 Oct

Zero knowledge II
22 Oct 23 Oct

26 Oct

Zero knowledge III

27 Oct 28 Oct

Zero knowledge IV

29 Oct 30 Oct

HW 4 due at 5pm.

Week 10: Differential privacy
2 Nov

Differential privacy, central model

  • Benefits and drawbacks
  • Laplace mechanism
  • Application: U.S. Census
3 Nov 4 Nov

Guest Lecture: Jennifer Granick (ACLU)
5 Nov 6 Nov
Weeks 11-13: More differential privacy, End-to-end privacy-enhancing systems
9 Nov

Differential privacy, local model

  • Randomized response
  • Applications: RAPPOR
10 Nov 11 Nov


  • Mix-nets
  • DC-nets
  • Onion routing and Tor
12 Nov 13 Nov

HW 5 due at 5pm.

16 Nov

Guest Lecture: Emily Stark (Google)
17 Nov 18 Nov

Secure messaging I
19 Nov 20 Nov
23-26 Nov: Thanksgiving vacation
30 Nov

Secure messaging II
1 Dec

2 Dec

Guest Lecture: Joe Calandrino (FTC)

3 Dec

4 Dec

HW 6 due at 5pm.

Week 14: Bonus topics
7 Dec

Bonus lecture I: TBD
8 Dec 9 Dec

Bonus lecture II: TBD
10 Dec 11 Dec

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