In this course, we study advanced security topics by reading state-of-the-art papers from top conferences in the field. Each student chooses relevant papers for a specific topic in the beginning of the course and presents it at a seminar. Each student also hands in a written report containing a summary of the topic and an in-depth review of the selected papers, pros and cons of the taken approach, and how the paper relates to other papers in the area. These reports are then peer-reviewed by the other students in the course.
This is a seminar course with one seminar per week. Number of course weeks therefore depends on the number of participants in the course. Each student is responsible for leading one seminar, and for each seminar, select at least two papers published in the last 3 years from a top conference related to security, and if needed, one introductory paper (which may be older and published elsewhere). These papers should be read by all students before the topic is presented.
Examples of suitable conferences are:
ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS)
Security & Privacy Symposium (S&P)
USENIX Security Symposium
Network and Distributed System Security (NDSS) Symposium
IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN)
International Cryptology Conference (CRYPTO)
The presenter has to research the topic deeper than the chosen reading material and should read enough material to be able to clearly present the topic, in depth describe the research problem being addressed, describe pros and cons of the approach taken by the authors of the paper, and if relevant, describe how it relates to his/her own research. The presenter should then write a short paper (maximum 4 pages) with the same contents to be peer-reviewed by the other students.
All participants in a seminar must read the selected papers beforehand and should be able to criticize and discuss the papers in detail and also ask relevant questions during the seminar. At the beginning of each seminar, the presenter should hand out a short quiz to check that the papers were actually read (quiz should be pre-approved by the teacher).
The course is given over two study periods, SP3 and SP4. The startup meeting will be held early in SP3 where topics are chosen and a detailed schedule is agreed upon, and most seminars will be held in SP4. This gives enough time to choose interesting papers, do the literature review for the presentation and to prepare the presentation.
Goals with this conference-based type of course
This course gives students the ability to study recent, 'hot' research by reading research reports not necessarily in their own domain. It not only gives an opportunity to stay up to date with developments in the student's own field but also to deal with areas outside his/her main interests. The course also aims at enhancing presentation skills by having the students present advanced research material with feedback from the audience. The students will also gain experience in reviewing processes by having to peer-review each other's reports.
Number of ECTS credits - MAY VARY
Number of credits depends on the number of topics covered (i.e. on number of participants) and may therefore vary. The number of credits given by the course, is calculated as shown below (assuming 7 participants and 1.5 ECTS credit = 40 hours):
- Presentation preparation of own topic: 20 hours = 0.7 credits.
- Written report: (~7 papers x 5 hours) + writing (24 hours) = 59 hours = 2.2 credits.
- Literature: each topic (7 lectures x 3 papers x 4 hours = 84 hours) = 3.1 credit.
- Presentation attendance and peer review of 7 reports: 7 x 2 hours + 7 x 4 hours = 42 hours = 1.5 credits.
With 7 seminars and topics, the course will give 7.5 ECTS credits and the goal is to have around 7 students participating. With fewer participants, the interested students may have the possibility to present two topics instead of one. With more than 7 students, we may have to limit the number of presentations and some students may only be allowed to read and review topics, not present an own topic and consequently get fewer credits.
- Each student must write a short paper (maximum 4 pages) on a selected topic, give a presentation and prepare a short quiz for his/her chosen topic.
- Each student must read all chosen papers, to be checked by short quiz at the beginning of a session.
- Each student should provide a peer-review of the other student's written reports to be checked and discussed with the teacher.
- A student who decides to not study a topic, fails the quiz or not provides a good peer review of a topic will, according to the calculations above, lose 0.7 credits.