Mathematics of Internet Security

Event Date: 

Brian McEnnis
Department of Mathematics at The Ohio State University

Tuesday, May 7, 7 p.m.
Infinity Restaurant, Downtown Marion, 267 W. Center Street

The internet is not a secure channel for communication. If you use the internet to send confidential information, such as a credit card number or a password, then it is possible that your information may be intercepted. How, then, is internet commerce possible?

The answer lies in a branch of mathematics known as number theory, long regarded as the purest of pure mathematics, since there were (until now) no significant applications. But today number theory provides the basis for secure internet communication.

At this science cafe, we will look at public key cryptography, which uses the mathematics of number theory to provide encryption for internet transactions. Along the way, we will meet some of the mathematicians whose ideas laid the foundation for internet security.