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Write a book or put it on a website?

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 11,437 ✭✭✭✭ fits


    I think the individual project and the quality of the people you'd be working with are more important than anything else.
    I dont really know how these surveys are performed, or understand their function to be honest.


Comments



  • Hello

    Over the past few months I've been researching and implementing an esoteric computer science topic called Elliptic Curve Cryptography. I plan to continue researching this topic.

    It's an absolutely fascinating area of computer science.

    Anyway, there are no readable books on this topic. Absolutely zero. They are all written for experts and assume you already know the topic in great detail, or at least have a Ph.D in maths.

    The thing is, there is no need for this. It's actually reasonably straightforward when broken down into small steps.

    This is where I come in. I want to write a full book/document where all the small steps are made simple and clear so anyone (or at least, computer programmers) can understand it.

    I am caught in two minds -

    1. Write a book. This is purely ego based.
    2. Put it on a website. This seems like the nicer, will-help-more-people option. It won't look as good on a CV though.

    What should I do?

    At the moment I'm leaning heavily towards option 2...

    Cheers!

    PS This is a great idea for a forum btw




  • Can you wite a skeleton on the topic online and then write a more detailed book?

    If they like the site, they'll buy the book :)

    PS. Thanks, wasn't my idea tho :/




  • It is quite hard to get a book published, especially if you are not a recognised expert in the area.

    I should probably point out that Cryptography: Theory and Practice and Applied Cryptography both have reasonable introductions to elliptic curve cryptography. Usually the easiest way to learn about more advanced topic is by reading the introductory chapters of a relevant PhD thesis.

    That said, a more comprehensive treatment would probably benefit many people. Putting stuff on a website is accessible, but you don't get anything out of it, and it will always look a little amateurish.

    Fortunately there is a solution: arXiv.org. I would suggest you write up a document, upload it to the arxiv and think about submitting it as a review article to a journal.




  • I should probably point out that Cryptography: Theory and Practice and Applied Cryptography both have reasonable introductions to elliptic curve cryptography.

    I've read those introductions. They're the same as every other introduction. They leave out all the complex stuff :)

    Honestly, the stuff you read in elliptic curve cryptography introductions has very little to do with *real* elliptic curve cryptography.

    It's not a well understood area. I've spoken to a few of the experts and even they don't understand some of the concepts! For example, there is a "trace" function which is used to solve an elliptic curve equation when you know x but don't know y. They know how to use the function, but they don't understand the maths behind it.
    That said, a more comprehensive treatment would probably benefit many people. Putting stuff on a website is accessible, but you don't get anything out of it, and it will always look a little amateurish.

    That's kind of my issue. Books are taken seriously, websites aren't really...
    Fortunately there is a solution: arXiv.org. I would suggest you write up a document, upload it to the arxiv and think about submitting it as a review article to a journal.

    Good idea. Thanks :)




  • AARRRGH wrote: »
    I've read those introductions. They're the same as every other introduction. They leave out all the complex stuff :)

    Honestly, the stuff you read in elliptic curve cryptography introductions has very little to do with *real* elliptic curve cryptography.

    Well that's usually the level where you get into books like this.
    AARRRGH wrote: »
    It's not a well understood area. I've spoken to a few of the experts and even they don't understand some of the concepts! For example, there is a "trace" function which is used to solve an elliptic curve equation when you know x but don't know y. They know how to use the function, but they don't understand the maths behind it.

    It is pretty well understood. I suspect you just haven't found the right people. Actually I have been shocked by just how well some people understand it (they were pointing out how breaking ECC schemes 'trivially' reduced to an abelian hidden subgroup problem).

    This isn't intended to put you off the idea, just being a bit more realistic.


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  • Well that's usually the level where you get into books like this.

    That's exactly my point.

    You either have to read fairly useless introductions, or fairly unreadable maths books. There is no middle ground.

    Most ECC concepts are simple, yet no where explains them simply. My ECC journey was needlessly painful.

    Most of the books do a very poor job at passing on any information. No where, for example, explains how you convert a message to a geometric point. How they ignored such a fundamental part of implementing ECC is beyond me.

    Someone needs to explain ECC from start to finish in plain English. It's an esoteric topic. It doesn't need to be. :)




  • At the very least, do put it on a website though.

    When I started programming computers I hadn't a bleedin' clue about data structures, complexity analysis, problem classes and all that and needed to get up to speed quickly.

    Well written websites were a godsend. After a few months I knew enough to have an idea what to look for in a book and then got meself a couple.

    I'm sure putting this stuff up in a readable manner will help at least a few people.


This discussion has been closed.
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