Saturday, April 21, 2007

No Matter What You Do, I Will Complain About You to the Internet

Subtitle: Maybe the university has blocked access to

My students are writing short papers about applications of the mathematics that we're studying to the real world. I gave them a list of five topics and told them that if they want to do something not on the list, they have to have it approved by me. One of the topics is the RSA cryptosystem.

Today I got an email from a student who is at a loss to find information about RSA. My student notes that he hasn't even been able to learn who invented it.

When I put either RSA or RSA cryptosystem into Google, the Wikipedia article shows up as the first or second hit. Not that I want my students to cite the Wikipedia, but it's a good place to get started -- especially the list of references that it cites.

I should also note that there is a section about RSA in our textbook.

Would my student fare any better if Ron Rivest had a MySpace page?