Foundations of Cryptography: Volume 1, Basic Tools
||Author: Oded Goldreich|
List Price: $75.00
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press (06 August, 2001)
Sales Rank: 227,325
Average Customer Rating: 4.33 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 5 out of 5
Fundamental book for anyone working with cryptography
This book, that you can see some parts on the authors site, is a essencial on everyone desk working on security and cryptography. It is not a book of recipes of how to build a secure cryptographic environment but a fundamental book on the basics of cryptography and cryptographic protocols.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Great idea -- needs a good editor!
This book hits some extremes in good and bad. The good is easy: There are few (no?) other books that fill the niche of theoretical cryptography. There are some excellent lecture notes from Bellare and Goldwasser that are available on the web, but they don't go into the detailed motivation of topics that Goldreich does. The topics that Goldreich has chosen cover a lot of important areas, and he has done a great job of pulling out the best, most essential results to present.
However, the bad part is that the writing is simply horrible. There seems to be little planning and things simply don't flow at all. Here's a specific example, which is so bad as to almost be funny: There's a huge use of footnotes for side comments, mostly because of this "stream of consciousness" writing that doesn't work things in properly. The first footnote in chapter 4 says, believe it or not, "See Footnote 13". Huh? So I go digging through the later part of the chapter, looking desperately for this gem of knowledge that will be in footnote 13, and what is it? The definition of a graph! Now come on -- chapter 4 of a book, where we've been dealing with advanced topics in computer science, and they feel the need to define a graph!?!?! Through several levels of indirection in footnotes? Come on guys, what editor let that one through?
Oded is a great computer scientist, and a good guy, but please, PLEASE get a good editor for the other volumes, or maybe even a good writer to team up with!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Superb presentation of the theoretical foundations.
We all know what it means for an algorithm to compute a function, but what does it mean for an encryption scheme to be secure? Traditionally, cryptographic schemes were suggested and attacked based on ad-hoc criterias, for lack of a proper theoretical setting. The last two decades have seen enormous progress in this respect. New notions were devised to harness the computational difficulty of problems in a constructive way to achieve security (in various senses) against all adversaries. This enabled the definition of a host of well-defined cryptographic "objects" and investigation of their existence and relations.
The planned 3-volume series aims to provide a thorough presentation of the theory, written by a dominant figure in the field. This first volume introduces the basic notions: one-way functions, pseudorandom generators, various zero-knowledge proof systems and related concepts. Curiously, common cryptographic objects such as encryption schemes and signature schemes are only briefly discussed in an appendix -- the author has chosen to postpone these to the Volume 2 in the interest of in-depth discussion of the simpler objects. Hence this volume does not stand well on its own, and until Volume 2 is published the impatient reader may be disappointed. Fortunately, drafts of Volume 2 are available on-line: www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~oded/foc-vol2.html
The presentation style is a tour de force of didactic sensitivity. The subject material is often problematic, because the mental gymnastics required are not quite like any other field. The author is fully aware of this, and provides ample intuitive discussion and motivation to help the reader through the more technical parts (without compromising rigorousness). A clear effort is made to present, or at least mention and reference, all interesting results pertaining to the discussion. This makes the book invaluable as a reference, though it could have been overwhelming had not the author taken care to separate these excursions from the main discussion. The exercises are usually well-considered and rewarding, and unlike some textbooks you won't find important results disguised as an optional exercise.
Those interested primarily in practical applications of cryptography may well find this book too abstract and irrelevant; the relation between this book and Schneier's "Applied Cryptography" is roughly like that between organic chemistry and cooking. However, for those taking academic interest in the field or trying to devise novel cryptographic schemes, this book is an effective way to get a solid grasp on the theory, and a delightful way to understand this exciting branch of computer science.
· Modern Cryptography: Theory and Practice
· Handbook of Applied Cryptography