Education and Research in Cryptography at the Department of Mathematics FEI STU in Bratislava

New era in cryptology is broadly dated to mid seventieth. In the same time we count the most fruitful period of a Semigroup theory seminar whose leading person was Professor Š. Schwarz. His non-trivial contribution to the Coding theory, Number theory and Finite fields is know all over the world. This was a very good bases for some of his graduate students and co-workers to be forwarded to study different problems arising from cryptology, especially from an algebraic point of view. In 1984 we started to teach a course "Secret communication in computer networks" for postgraduate study (PhD) at the former EF SVŠT as the first in former Czechoslovakia. This course was attended by many experts of the whole ČSSR for more than 4 years. In the same year O. Grošek wrote the first Lecture Notes for these students. In 1985 O. Grošek (EF SVŠT) and K. Nemoga (MÚ SAV) decided to establish a new seminar CRYPTO. It was established in 1986 in cooperation with other people, like P. Volauf from KM EF SVŠT, Š. Porubský, O. Štrauch, I. Žembery, M. Laššák and S. Jakubec from MÚ SAV, P. Farkaš from KTL EF SVŠT and J. Vyskoč from VS SAV. CRYPTO - seminar was attended by experts from MFF UK, MÚ SAV, KM EF SVŠT and other scientific institutions. We were mainly reading a journal CRYPTOLOGIA, published in Indiana, USA. In that time, for us, this was the only one available journal in the field. CRYPTO - seminar temporarily ended in November 1989. Since the same year we started a cooperation with one of the best known centers all over the world in that time, namely in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In 1990 we opened a course Ciphering for all students of MFF UK and FEI STU. Publishing house GRADA has published the first monography of this area in Slovak in 1992: Šifrovanie - metódy, algoritmy, prax, written by O. Grošek and Š. Porubský. (As far as we know, before there was written in ČSR only one publication by Jaromír Lichtner Šifrování: úvod do kryptografie chemické, grafické, čtyřidceti šifrovými klíči. Alojz Srdce Pub. 1939.)

In February 1993 our seminar started to work again at the Department of Mathematics FEI STU under new circumstances. Great challenge for founders had also been an offer for cooperation from the former director of Central Security Agency of the Ministry of Interior, Ing. Eduard Puffler. In the school year 1996/97 the seminar was not public because of specific tasks solved for MV SR.

In 1995 has begun a course Ciphering for regular students, and there were set off the first Bachelor's projects and Diploma Theses in this area. These projects include both practical and theoretical problems of cryptology. Since the same year we have graduate students in the field of 25-11-9 Applied Informatics, and also (since 1997) 11-14-9 Applied Mathematics.

Cryptology is unquestionably counted as one of the most attractive theories in both Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. Hence it is not surprising that there is a very close cooperation between our Department of Mathematics and Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Since 2000/01 at the Department of Mathematics, and in cooperation with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, we have the first Masters degree students in the field of Security of Information Technologies. All of these activities allowed FEI STU in Bratislava to be the leading institution in Slovakia in the area of Applied Informatics, including Computer Security. There is a large cooperation with governmental institutions, eg. Ministry of Interior (7 finished technical reports), Ministry of Defense (1 finished technical report), and National Bank of Slovakia (7 realized special seminars). Some parts of research projects may belong to the area of Applied Informatics and comprises problems lying within the scope of different parts of Computer Science, Cryptology, Algebra, Informatics, and other parts of Discrete Mathematics. Given areas are getting closer, emphasize each other, interlace. Clearly, the borderline problems emerged. It seems that combining the methods characteristic for particular areas should be the approach how to solve them, i.e. to take a look at the problems from different points of view. To be a part of a solution of real problems, beginning 1996 we are participating in grants from Computer Science. From our Department, in all projects have participated O. Grošek and L. Satko. Gradually they were followed by Š. Porubský, K. Nemoga, H. Lichardová, M. Adámyová - Šimovcová, M. Vojvoda and M. Greško.

Next we are introducing principal results of research projects in the field of cryptology where we contributed.

A list of people working in the field beyond the borders is nearly endless. Thus, continuing in our CRYPTO seminar, organizing workshops participating by leading experts in the field, and ourselves participating at foreign conferences we would like to be both informed, and inform researchers about our recent results. Moreover, since there are many particular problems which might be solved by students, some particular results are gained also by semester and diploma projects, too. Up to these days 3 people finished their Ph.D thesis, and 15 Master thesis related to cryptology has been finished too. Members of our CRYPTO group has published 41 scientific papers, and 23 other papers related to cryptology . At present we have 8 graduate students.

Written by O. Grošek and L. Satko, May 31, 2001.