Instructor: Amir Houmansadr
Course number: CMPSCI660 @ University of Massachusetts Amherst
Class hours: TuTh 11:30am-12:45pm
Class location: CS142
Office hours information: Please check Canvas
Communications: Convas and Piazza


This course provides an in-depth examination of the fundamental principles of information assurance. While the companion course for undergraduates is focused on practical issues, the syllabus of this course is influenced strictly by the latest research. We will cover a range of topics including authentication, adversarial ML, social networks, anonymity systems, malware, intrusion detection, intellectual property protection, and more.

For each class session:
  1. Students are expected to read all the assigned papers, and to submit a review for one of the papers.
  2. You should submit your paper review on Canvas. Use this format for writing reviews.
  3. You are expected to engage in class discussions.
Class attendence: You are expected to attend the class in person. If there are certain circumstances that require you to miss some sessions, you should contact the instructors on Piazza before class. Failure to attending classes can lead to failing the class.

Grading is done based on these items: (summarized in the following table)
  1. Final Projects: You should form a team and work with the instructor to choose a project topic. You will present the project at the end of the semester, and you need to submit a 6-pages report. Further details here: Projects.
  2. Mini-projects: You will be given ~3 mini-projects throughout the semester, which you will need to submit on Canvas. Each mini-project is a programming homework related to the topics coverd in class.
  3. Paper reviews: Reviews of the assigned papers turned in on Canvas. Check out the Schedule for papers.
  4. Pop up Quizzes: An undetermined number of (easy) quizzes will be given during the semester.
Grading Item Percentage
Paper Reviews 30%
Mini-projects (~3 total) 30%
Final Project Presentation 15%
Final Project Report 15%
Pop-up Quizzes 10%


Undergraduate degree in computer science, or CS460 or 466, or equivalent.


Here are some of the ethical rules that must be practiced by the students. If you are uncertain about an action being ethical please contact the instructor. You can also read UMass's Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Paper reviews must be prepared independently. Students may collaborate on the project if agreed by the instructor.
  • Presentation slides may be borrowed from others (e.g., authors of the papers), given proper acknowledgement.
  • As a general rule, students are not permitted to submit the same work for credit in multiple courses (e.g., a project submitted for another course, or an already published paper). Extensions to previous projects may be accepted after discussing with the instructor.
  • Plagiarism is a serious crime! If you use someone else's result in your report make sure to give proper reference. Exact wording should be reported inside quotation marks.

Useful links